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Andy Allen's blog: Reducing fleet emissions

Date: 28 July 2017

Volvo's recent announcement that all its new cars from 2019 onwards will be partially or completely battery-powered, was touted (by Volvo, admittedly) as "the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car".

Volvo's sales are small compared to the big global auto manufacturers, but the move could be an interesting one for fleet owners - particularly when you factor in the concessions and tax breaks available on 'greener' vehicles.

Looking at the broader picture, this move from Volvo's is another step down the road towards greener business practices.

Most fleets aren't made up of part or fully-electric vehicles, but managers understand how to reduce their emissions through measures like maintaining tyres at optimum inflation, encouraging drivers to adopt a smooth driving style, shedding unnecessary weight in the car and using environmentally responsible fuel providers.

So being a good corporate citizen is now an integral part of every fleet's offer. And this isn't just a nice-to-have - it's business critical in some cases. Local authorities now want to have certainty over the emissions that their own contractors are emitting, and I'm aware of a number of large-scale projects where bidders are being asked to comply with certain emissions or fleet management criteria.

The question fleet managers should always be asking is: are we doing enough? While there are many steps your drivers can take to improve fuel economy, the burden of reducing carbon emissions lies solely with the vehicle itself.   

So gas-guzzlers are out, but thankfully there are many vehicles on the marketplace which provide less than 160g/km and offer fuel consumption above 45mpg - and are suitable for a wide range of fleet needs, without compromising on performance. Which is the real driver behind moves like Volvo's.

But all fleets need fuel, so more and more are embracing carbon offsetting programmes. We've been doing this for a while (our Target Neutral offer actually offset all of the emissions from the London 2012 Olympics), and we are currently working with fleets across Europe who are also keen to offset their emissions. It's an attractive proposition for companies who want and need to do something around their emissions but don't have the ability, because of their sort of business, to go completely emissions free.

So remember, fleet efficiency rarely comes from one headline grabbing move. It's a combination of things that all add up to more than the sum of their parts.