The number of organisations and businesses setting green fleet targets may have risen dramatically between 2011 and 2012, but fleet managers need to use whole-life costs as the basis for decisions on switching to more eco-friendly vehicles rather than the up-front cost of lower emission models.

That is a central recommendation from their recent ‘Alphabet Fleet Management Report’, which revealed that businesses establishing green fleet targets rose from 45% to 79% with private companies becoming more receptive to environmentally friendly vehicle programmes.

While 83% of public sector organisations registered green fleet targets, up from 67% during the 2011 survey, their private sector businesses polled a doubling of those committed to lower CO2 and fuel-consuming cars, from 38% to 79%.

Initial cost penalties incurred when switching to greener vehicles were listed as the major obstacle to change by 91% of fleet managers.

But Paul Hollick, Alphabet’s sales and marketing director, said reluctance to bring forward that conversion could be overcome by whole-life cost calculations rather than lease cost based choice lists.

Companies should adopt four-year blocks rather than additional up-front first-year savings’ calculations, advocated Hollick.

Firms investing in electric vehicles only edged up marginally from 22% to 28%, with lack of recharging infrastructure and range anxiety the main inhibitions.