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Resource Center Creating a Sustainable Fleet Management Plan

Creating a Sustainable Fleet Management Plan

October 7, 2022 Katie Doherty
Creating a fleet sustainability plan - Picture of electric vehicle charging station

For fleet managers, coming up with a sustainable fleet strategy can support your business’s bottom line and help preserve our home.

Fleet sustainability can come in many forms. Whether it’s fuel efficiency, using zero-emission vehicles, or paying attention to route management, it’s possible to achieve your sustainability goals on any level.

It can be hard to find the data to determine what sustainability looks like for your company. We’ll help you learn more about fleet sustainability- the pros and cons, government incentives, market trends, and how to create a sustainable fleet management strategy.

Let’s get started.

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What is Sustainable Fleet Management?

Sustainable fleets generally operate with three goals in mind: lower environmental impact, compliance, and more sustainable practices.

Typically, fleets reduce environmental impact by:

  • Using greener technologies
  • Improving fuel efficiency
  • Reducing waste and inefficient practices
  • Reducing carbon emissions

There are many challenges and benefits that come with sustainable fleet management, and it’s up to you as to what kind of strategy to implement for your business.

How Can a Sustainable Fleet Management Strategy Help With Environmental Impact?

Sustainable fleet plan - picture of highways surrounded by forrest

Optimized fleet sustainability can help lessen environmental impact by focusing on aspects of real-world infrastructure.

There are several different measures fleet managers can take to make their fleet management strategy more sustainable.

  • Increasing Fuel Efficiency
  • Lowering Carbon Emissions
  • Integrating Hybrid or Electric Vehicles
  • Optimizing Routes
  • Incorporating More Reusable Tools & Products (saves money)

Focusing on fuel efficiency can lower your fuel costs and decrease the amount spent at the pump. By reducing your carbon emissions, your fleet complies with new mandates and contributes to a cleaner environment.

Likewise, if your business adds hybrid or electric vehicles to its fleet, you play a part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and can incorporate more fuel options, such as renewable diesel blends.

By using a route optimizer, your business can complete more routes in less time while also saving money on fuel.

By eliminating disposable products from your fleet operations, you can invest in resources that will ultimately save you money over the long-term while also reducing waste.

It’s up to you what kind of direction you want to take for your vehicle management. We hope to provide you with the information you need so you can take the necessary action to achieve your goals.

The State of Electric Vehicles in the Fleet Industry

Woman at an electric vehicle charging station

A popular trend in the fleet industry is using electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).

If you have EVs in your fleet, your vehicles run partially or completely on electricity. They are a more sustainable option than internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV). Standard hybrids and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles use both electricity and gas.

With the current state of technology, EVs are great for short-distance travel. Hybrids are more beneficial for fleets needing longer trips between charges or fill-ups. Not all green vehicles have the same benefits, so it’s important to decide which will work best for you.

Green vehicles are a popular new option since they can reduce maintenance costs, use less fuel, and carry tax write-offs, but they can provide challenges as well.

Where will our drivers have to stop to charge their vehicle?

How long will they have to wait for their vehicle to be completely charged?

How will this affect our energy bill?

These are some of the questions you will have to consider when making a sustainable fleet management strategy.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Alternative fuel types at a gas pump - biodiesel

What is an alternative fuel vehicle? These are motor vehicles that run on alternative fuel rather than traditional diesel or gasoline.

There are many different types of alternative fuel vehicles for light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty work, such as:

  • Biofuels
  • Natural Gas
  • Carbon-Neutral & Carbon-Negative
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Alternative fuel vehicles are becoming more popular with the fluctuation of gas prices, environmental concerns, and tax incentives.

However, it’s important to also consider the accessibility cost of alternative fuels and whether they’re right for your company.

Challenges of Creating a Fleet Sustainability Plan

While it’s important to be aware of the benefits of sustainable fleet management, it’s also essential to consider the challenges fleet managers might face.

  • Knowing Where to Start
  • Energy Consumption of EVs
  • Fueling Costs
  • Cost-Effective Solutions
  • Ease of Use

Finding what works best for your vehicle fleet can be overwhelming. So here are several ways to make your operations more sustainable.

4 Pillars for Creating Your Sustainable Fleet Management Plan

Man with a commercial truck

There are four main initiatives you can incorporate into your sustainable fleet plan, such as:

  1. Switching to Green Vehicles
  2. Operational Efficiencies
  3. Optimizing Your Vehicle Stable
  4. Reducing Mileage

Going Green: Switching to Alternative Fuels

One way to make your fleet vehicles sustainable is to focus on alternative fuels.

One way of doing this is by replacing petroleum diesel with renewable diesel or biodiesel blends.

Here are some of the benefits of alternative fuels:

  • Renewable diesel: cleaner, high-quality products that withstand cold and are more easily stored than petroleum diesel.
  • Biodiesel blends: domestically produced, clean-burning, renewable substitutes for petroleum diesel. They increase energy security, improve air quality, and provide safety benefits.
  • Natural gas: They can drastically reduce carbon emissions, are a clean-burning fuel, and reduce operating costs.

Finding where you can optimize your fuel efficiencies by prioritizing renewable fuels can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Whether it’s alternative fuels like renewable diesel blends, compressed or biodiesel, focusing on green fuel alternatives can help make greener fleets and a more sustainable fleet plan.

Increasing Operational Efficiency

One of the most effective ways to build a sustainable fleet and reduce emissions is to focus on your fleet efficiency.

Fleets can do this by:

  • Paying attention to unnecessary idling
  • Reduce mileage by using software like GPS tracking and route optimizers
  • Replacing inefficient vehicles with fuel-efficient ones

Minimizing idling, miles traveled, and replacing inefficient vehicles will help with fuel costs, maintenance, repair, and environmental impact.

Optimizing Your Vehicle Stable

sustainable fleet management plan - Small delivery van

Another way to craft a more sustainable fleet strategy is by ensuring your company optimizes its stable of vehicles. This may sound like common sense, but we often rationalize purchasing or keeping items for the “just-in-case” scenario that rarely happens.

Here are a few points to consider:

  • Larger vehicles with more powerful engines naturally lead to higher fuel consumption
    (opt for the smallest engine that will get the job done safely, efficiently, and effectively)
  • Heavier vehicles could cost more in annual road taxes
  • Under-utilized vehicles lead to unnecessary expenses
    (Maintenance, storage, taxes, and registration fees are all wasted on a vehicle that’s rarely used)

Ultimately, you want to ensure your business is catering its expenses toward the “must-haves” and not the “what ifs?” By doing so, you’ll decrease waste and emissions in the process.

Reducing Waste

Office workers with ceramic coffee mugs

The last principle of creating a sustainable fleet management strategy is to focus on reducing waste.

Waste comes in many forms, but for our purposes, we’ll primarily focus on purchasing reusable products rather than disposable ones.

Examples of reusable alternatives to common disposables:

  • Washable air filters (K&N)
  • Washable shop rags
  • Digital business cards or marketing materials
  • Digital forms
  • Non-disposable office cups & utensils

Bonus Tips

Reducing Paper Waste – Diving Deeper

sustainable fleet management plan - picture of digital forms history, replacing paper forms

One of the largest wasted expenses for businesses is paper products. With this in mind, you’ll want to identify opportunities to invest in digital fleet solutions.

FTS can provide you with several solutions that can reduce your paper waste and increase efficiency:

Digital products can help make planning, scheduling, and maintaining your vehicle fleet more manageable and sustainable.

Increasing Fleet Sustainability Can Help More than Just the Environment

Having a green fleet can help the environment and your business last longer. And, many clients are starting to prefer working with sustainable businesses.

Over time, sustainability can help you save money and support the environment.

Ready to get started?

Let’s do it together.

Managing Your Sustainable Goals With Forward Thinking Systems

A sustainable fleet strategy is possible by making changes within your current management plan. It’s up to you what kind of changes is right for your fleet.

At Forward Thinking Systems, we prioritize your strategy. Whether you’re interested in making your plan more sustainable, optimizing your daily operations, lowering maintenance costs, or anything else, we’re here for you.

FAQs

One of the most effective ways to implement your sustainability plan is to incentivize your drivers to decrease their excessive idling. Find ways to promote driver efficiency and eco-friendly habits by promoting incentives and education.

Electric vehicles are forecasted to comprise 31% of the global fleet by 2050.They are on the rise within the fleet management industry and it may be worth it to get ahead of the curb and learn how to implement them now.

There are pros and cons to consider when replacing your ICE vehicles with electric ones. Consider maintenance savings, mileage, time range, and charging requirements. Build out a detailed report comparing yearly expenses to help you make the best decision.


Psssst… Want to see how our fleet management services can help your business save money, implement more sustainable practices, and prep for the future?

Grab a free demo.

Do it.

Do it now.

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