30 tips for a green fleet strategy

Published on April 21, 2020 in Sustainability by Joanne Tucker.


Make Earth Day every day. Get tips for your green fleet strategy.

From Earth Day to Earth Week to now some celebrating Earth Month, this growing recognition of the environment is reflective of how green fleet strategies have grown as well.

Make every day Earth Day

  1. Lean on telematics: Considered the go-to green fleet technology, telematics is often ground-zero of a fleet sustainability strategy because it provides the data needed to set and measure goals.
  2. Report, report, and report some more (automatically): For example, use technology to track emissions, idling and any other measurement you could possibly need to enact and manage a green fleet plan.
  3. Be inclusive: Work with other departments on establishing long-term goals and strategies. In other words, make a plan that is company wide, allowing it to impact your organization’s deeper culture.
  4. Think closed-loop: Recycle and reuse. A green fleet strategy is really about greening the whole organization in every nook and cranny you can think of.
  5. Be flexible: This means being open to ideas you’ve probably heard about but have been hesitant to try, such as remote working and flex hours. Start small and see where it goes.
  6. It’s a lifestyle: Long considered a taboo to talk about in fleet management, many organizations are seeing the benefit of promoting and rewarding employee carpooling, car sharing, and even using alternative modes of transportation such as public transit and bicycling. This can be encouraged via an employee program, as well as examined at the fleet level.

Focus on fuel

  1. Reduce idling: When tracking time spent idling, it’s easy to bring those levels down via in-cab alerts and other telematics features. Idling wastes fuel and adds stress to your engine. Turning your engine off while not in use is one of the easiest ways for a fleet to save fuel, costs and emissions.
  2. Train drivers: By examining harsh braking and the like, you can train drivers specific to their style and help them become more eco-friendly.
  3. Engage drivers: Increase the impact of training measures with gamification and recognizing your fuel savers.
  4. Lower miles driven: With efficient route management, miles can often be cut by avoiding heavy traffic times or unnecessary overlaps.
  5. Aerodynamics: An evolving field for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, aerodynamic applications could be worth investigating for your existing trucks.
  6. Test new technology: Manufacturers are on the push to increase efficiency, though some features can seem too high of a cost at procurement. Pilot one technology at a time to see if the ROI works.
  7. Keep it level: Harsh acceleration takes up more fuel than gradual acceleration as it creates more drag. Increase your following distance when accelerating or decelerating to improve gas economy.
  8. Lighten the load: Lighter loads put less stress on the engine. When a load is unnecessarily heavy, it burns more fuel, creates more work for the engine and leads to poor mileage.

Look at your options

  1. Consider the alternatives: Educate yourself on the different available alternative fuel and powertrain technologies, existing infrastructure and even grants, through resources like the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.
  2. Plan your transition: An electric vehicle suitability assessment (EVSA) provides exactly what you need to examine to determine if your fleet could just as easily work with EVs.
  3. Manage EV/alternative fuel data: These initiatives can be measured in how they have impacted your overall fleet emissions. Read how Farmdrop uses telematics to track its fleet of electric delivery.
  4. Use a dispatch system: Optimize your routes and fuel efficiency with dispatch services to improve your fleet’s productivity.

Let your fleet shine: Maintain it.

  1. Be proactive: When unchecked, maintenance tasks like tire rotation and inflation, oil changes and others can all negatively impact fuel efficiency.
  2. Recycle batteries: This includes EV batteries as well.
  3. Look at the shop: Re-refined oil and other environmentally friendly products are making their way into major mechanic shops globally.
  4. Try biodegradable: Consider how you keep your fleet looking polished and what cleaning products are used.
  5. Analyze, analyze, analyze: Regularly analyze maintenance costs to specification needs for the job. Use green fleet resources like the EPA’s SmartWay designation.
  6. Replace air filters: When a filter gets old or dirty, the engine works harder to achieve proper airflow and oxygen. Replacing the engine air filter can improve mileage by up to 15%.
  7. Check your tire pressure: Having low tire pressure results in a higher rolling resistance for your wheels. Low rolling resistance tires help improve fuel consumption.

Be the tortoise, not the hare: Embrace it.

  1. Encourage safety: No collisions mean no repair costs, fewer materials used and so on.
  2. Try local: Sustainability is also about how far a product travels (we are in the fleet space after all). Spend time researching local vendors and how you can work with other organizations nearby with a similar mindset.
  3. Stay in touch: Follow the green fleet industry through industry media, vendors and even conferences.
  4. Stay focused: Don’t lose sight of goals and keep reporting on a pre-planned schedule, such as quarterly.
  5. Stay motivated: “What we need now takes all of us.” – Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, reflecting on progress and what’s next after 25 years of global efforts.

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Disclaimer

Geotab's blog posts are intended to provide information and encourage discussion on topics of interest to the telematics community at large. Geotab is not providing technical, professional or legal advice through these blog posts. While every effort has been made to ensure the information in this blog post is timely and accurate, errors and omissions may occur, and the information presented here may become out-of-date with the passage of time.

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