Managing the Financial Side of Commercial Fleets

Corporate Fleets Aim for “Greener” Operations

Through use of telematics, alternative-fuel and hybrid vehicles, idling reduction policies, and other efforts, various corporate fleets have reduced their vehicle emissions, contributing to their companies’ sustainability goals.

March 2011, by Staff

ComEd's green fleet includes biodiesel and hybrid vehicles, like this hybrid bucket truck.
ComEd's green fleet includes biodiesel and hybrid vehicles, like this hybrid bucket truck.

As fuel prices continue to rise, many companies are finding their corporate sustainability goals beneficial not just in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also in lowering fleet operating costs. With manufacturers offering more alternative-fuel vehicle options and the increasing sophistication of telematics technology, corporate fleets have found successful ways to reduce their carbon footprints. The following corporate fleets discuss their methods and emissions reductions.

  Pfizer Reduces CO2 Emissions by 15 Percent

One sustainability success story regarding New York-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer's fleet is a 15-percent­ reduction in total CO2 emissions (6-percent reduction per vehicle) between 2008-2010.

Pfizer's green fleet strategy relies on demand management, driver training, and leveraging new drivetrain and alternative-fuel technology when practical.

Fleet efforts are consistent with Pfizer's overall environmental strategy, according to the company. In addition to meeting previous greenhouse gas commitments, Pfizer has a second-generation greenhouse gas goal to reduce its total CO2 footprint by 20 percent from 2008 through 2012. Fleet, totaling 11 percent of Pfizer's footprint, is part of this effort, and green fleet initiatives have already led to an 11-percent total and 4-percent normalized reduction in 2009, according to Pfizer.

  EMD Millipore Embraces Hybrid Fleet

Through its greening efforts, Billerica, Mass.-based life sciences tools and technology provider EMD Millipore implemented a 33-percent hybrid fleet into its North American operations and also plans to save more than 140,000 gallons of gasoline while significantly cutting CO2 emissions.

The company leases a global fleet of 1,200 vehicles, 327 of which are utilized by personnel within U.S. borders.

In 2008, the company revamped its entire fleet program. Fleet began incentivizing its eligible drivers to select a hybrid vehicle through a cash payment after they had taken delivery of the vehicle. This is funded by the fuel savings the company receives.

The company hopes to cut total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 20 percent over the 2006 baseline by 2011, according to David Newman, head of sustainability and Environmental Health & Safety. This includes emissions from company facilities, purchased energy, and fleet vehicles.

At the end of 2009, the company operated 104 hybrid vehicles, contributing greatly to a 15-percent total GHG reduction, with many programs lined up to help achieve the ultimate goal of 20 percent, according to the company. It is also looking at increasing the use of four-cylinder engines as another way to increase fuel efficiency and reduce GHG emissions.

Fleet has also moved to vehicles with better fuel mileage and eliminated use of all-wheel-drive vehicles in warm climates, further reducing consumption.

EMD ultimately hopes to globalize its alt-fuel vehicle program.

  ComEd Launches Fleet-wide Program to Reduce Idling

Illinois-based utility ComEd (Commonwealth Edison Company) is making a major effort to reduce idling among its fleet of 3,100 vehicles with its "12 Ways to Green" campaign, which aims to educate customers about ways to save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

According to the company, if vehicle idling were reduced by one hour per day among ComEd's vehicle fleet, the company could reduce an estimated 4.5 million lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions each year and save $724,000 in fuel costs.

ComEd is further reducing greenhouse gas emissions by utilizing alternative-fuel vehicles such as hybrids and soy-based biodiesels in its fleet. ComEd said it was among the first utilities in the country to add hybrid bucket trucks to its fleet. The hybrid truck uses a battery instead of the engine to operate the bucket, eliminating idling time.

Avoiding vehicle idling is the latest in ComEd's "12 Ways to Green" campaign. This campaign also supports Exelon 2020, an aggressive environmental strategy by ComEd's parent company, Exelon, to reduce, offset, or displace more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year by 2020.

"Vehicle idling wastes fuel, and excessive idling can actually damage an engine's components," said George Malek, ComEd Energy Doctor.

ComEd has also made a commitment to creating a green fleet, which comprises more than 2,400 vehicles out of its total fleet of 3,100 vehicles:

■ 1,909 trucks running on biodiesel fuel (20-percent soybean oil, 80-percent diesel).

■ 307 E-85 flex-fuel vehicles capable of being fueled with ethanol.

■ 17 hybrid/biodiesel.

■ 182 hybrid/gasoline.

■ 10 hybrid plug-in electrical vehicles.

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