Actions for Fuel Efficient Fleets




Driving a Green Fleet Program

The City of Victoria bought this Smart Car when right-sizing its vehicles. The City uses branding to increase awareness of corporate fleet green initiatives in the community. / City of Victoria

Fuel efficient fleets provide an opportunity to realize predictable and measurable long term GHG reductions in a short timeframe. The strategies are straightforward and have been successful across North America. They are cost effective, improve staff morale, health and safety, and demonstrate leadership in the community.

Fleets are a significant share of emissions from local government operations, typically the second largest after buildings but sometimes even the largest.  The direct links between fleet management, fuel consumption, and GHG emissions make this sector a strategic focal point for climate action.

Many staff involved in fleet management do not consider themselves fleet managers. However, anyone involved in purchasing, operating, and/or maintaining fleets is involved in fleet management. These activities vary with the size of the local government, but are always geared towards the effective use of fleet assets.

Key Objectives of Fuel Efficient Fleets

  • Minimize vehicle fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
  • Maximize the lifetime value generated from fleet assets.
  • Purchase (buy or lease) fuel efficient vehicles.
  • Improve the health, safety, and job satisfaction of employees.

Under Local Government Control

The direct links between fleet management, fuel consumption, and GHG emissions make this sector a strategic focal point in climate change action.

Local governments have direct control over the management, operation, and procurement of their fleets and equipment. They are able to monitor and manage fuel consumption, vehicle purchasing, personnel use of assets, and employee training. This gives local governments significant control over vehicle emissions. The result is strong influence over the satisfaction, health, and safety of employees. Managing a local government fleet with the goal of reducing GHG emissions also demonstrates leadership in the community.

While the challenges involved in green fleet management will vary by the size and resources of the local government, the core strategies and benefits remain the same. More information on these differences and potential strategies is given on the page providing solutions for local governments related to reducing fleet GHG emissions.

Characteristics of Fuel Efficient Fleets

Alternative Fuels and Technology

  • Buying the most fuel efficient vehicle for the given task.
  • Maximizing the use of low carbon fuels, such as biodiesel and hydrogen, and/or technologies within financial capabilities.
  • Developing replacement policies to acquire increasingly more environmentally friendly vehicles and more efficient technologies, such as lighter trailers, smaller trucks, and aerodynamic parts.

Optimized Efficiency (Fuel and Vehicle Performance, and Management Practices)

  • Targeting and taking action on the direct relationship between vehicle emissions and annual fleet spending.
  • Using operating and maintenance practices to optimize vehicle and equipment performance.
  • Optimizing vehicle utilization and using the most efficient routes.
  • Reducing idling as much as possible.
  • Taking more control over the fleet and doing things better by recognizing the important impact the fleet has on the climate and your bottom line.

Healthier and More Satisfied Employees and Safer Work Environments

  • Improving air quality and reducing accidents through green fleet action plan driven driver skill and awareness policies, programs, and education. [1,2,3]
  • Reducing local health risks (e.g., asthma, childhood bronchitis, restricted activity, heart failure for the elderly) and indirectly reducing health expenditures. [4]

Management and Training

  • Investing in managers, management programs, and drivers results in more efficient vehicle operation.
  • Training drivers and managers on driving and management techniques, such as progressive shifting and preventative maintenance.
  • Increasing job satisfaction and employee morale through training and management investment. [1,2,5]
[Use the tabs above to learn WHY this sector is important in GHG management and HOW you can reduce emissions with your fleets.]

[1] Deutsche Post AG, (2008). Energy-saving driving techniques.

[2] Fraser Basin Council, (2006). Greening Canada's Fleets - E3 Fleet Rating System.

[3] Minnesota Environmental Initiative, (2008). Project Green Fleet Recognized as a National Model for Reducing Air Pollution.

[4] Åke Blomqvist, Philippe Crabbé, George Dranitsaris, and Paul Lanoie, (January 2000). Climate Change and Health Economic Advisory Panel - Final Report on Health Impacts of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) Mitigation Measures.

[5] Roger Smith, (April 2008). Greening the Fleet; Why it Makes Good Business Sense.

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