Managing the Financial Side of Commercial Fleets

From Green to Greenbacks

Developing and implementing successful green fleet initiatives provides more than a good corporate image. The real value can be in saving the kind of “green” that fills the corporate pocketbook.

March 2009, by Staff

Is it really important for a fleet company to go green? Yes. And it's not all about image. The pressure to go green is about reducing emissions, conserving fuel, and reducing a fleet's carbon footprint to contribute to a cleaner environment.

With fuel such a large fleet expense, going green should positively impact a company's bottom line. Most such efforts are focused on the immediate — how to reduce fuel costs and dependency. Some initiatives focus on secondary issues, such as projecting the right company image, complying with corporate policies, and reducing a company's carbon footprint.

Whatever the motivation, greening up a fleet will improve its impact on the environment by reducing emissions and fuel consumption. More importantly, the same steps in planning and implementing a green initiative will save more "green" — the kind you can put in your pocket.

Where to Begin Greening
Start with planning. Set realistic goals and create an achievable vision of your final plan, e.g., certain percentage of alt-powered vehicles in the fleet, measurable emissions carbon footprint reductions, or decreased fuel consumption totals. Develop a step-by-step implementation plan with established timelines.

A fleet greening program is necessarily dependent on budget figures and how it may affect day-to-day operations. Depending on the initiative's scale, up-front expenditures may be required, but the savings eventually will outweigh the cost. Key steps to implement a green
initiative include:

■ Conduct an overall vehicle assessment.

■ Update fleet maintenance and service programs.

■ Use technology where appropriate.

■ Use a dedicated fleet card for better reporting, security, and control.

■ Implement driver training and driving modification tools.

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