Learning Zone

Reduce fleet CO2 emissions And Fuel Costs

By Ross Jephson
20 January 2021

Did you know that reducing vehicle CO2 emissions can also help lower fuel costs?

We consider the best fuel choices for both the environment and your budget

a car and map of the world made out of leaves to symbolize the need to reduce co2 emissions

Among all types of fleet operation, there tends to be an ongoing drive to reduce CO2 emissions. Sustainability initiatives are in practice to help reduce a fleet’s carbon footprint which in turn lowers fuel use and costs.

But what do you need to know?

With efforts at improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions comes the need to make cost-effective fuel choices based on operational needs, drivers fuel costs, fueling infrastructures, tax implications and incentives. There are many different answers to these questions and a strategic approach tends to be the best path to make informed choices.

Choose the right fuel for the job

Different fuel types offer a range of options for reducing CO2 emissions. Comparing these options can be based on how they meet business needs and achieve sustainability objectives.

It’s also worth considering the drivers and their fleet requirements such as commercial vehicle operators, sales or service personnel. Driving skill can make a big difference to vehicle performance too with those tending to be heavy on the accelerator and brakes using additional fuel and increasing wear and tear when compared to drivers opting for a smoother ride.

Think about the goods or tools that the vehicle needs to carry as additional weight which will increase fuel consumption. The type of journey can be a deciding factor too – constant speed motorway routes or an urban service with multiple stops should influence fuel choice.

An understanding of the fuel types, their availability and ability to reduce CO2 emissions is important to be aware of.

Here is an overview of the different fuel types:

Widely available but and tends to emit less NOx but more CO2 than diesel.

Considering its higher power-to-weight ratio compared to gasoline, this fuel type provides better fuel economy in lorries and cars. New standards and technologies have made diesel more environmentally friendly.

choose the best fuel type for your fleet

Biodiesel blends
These provide comparable fuel efficiency to pure diesel and it’s a renewable fuel that emits less CO2.

Natural gas
Whether compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG), it’s more environmentally friendly than diesel or gasoline. Natural gas- powered vehicles typically cost more than gasoline due to the higher cost of high-pressure and insulated fuel tanks.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and Hydraulic Hybrid Vehicles (HHVs)
These all reduce CO2 emissions and typically improve fuel economy compared to models powered by only petrol or diesel. in fact, electric vehicles offer a complete absence of tailpipe emissions.

With all fuel type choices, incentives are often in place to encourage uptake. Government incentives are available that support both the uptake of EVs and charging point installations.

The availability of a fueling infrastructure that fits your fleet’s operating territory can be a significant deciding factor in lower emissions fuel choices. Whilst gasoline and diesel are readily available, natural gas fuels and electric charging stations can be limited but there’s ongoing investment to change this.

How do you ensure ROI?

Regardless of your CO2 emission reducing fuel choice, costs represent a large part of a fleet’s operating expenses. Effective purchasing practices, therefore, can ensure a faster return on investment.

So how do you manage fuel purchases easily and effectively?

Firstly, consider the fuel efficiency of the vehicles within your fleet. Quite simply, switching from a car that does 25 mpg to one that does 50 mpg can reduce your fuel bill by up to a half!  A widely used solution is by using fleet fuel card programs. And with a several fuel cards to choose from it’s a case of deciding which one provides the best features for your operation.

It’s also worth noting that some fuel cards can only be used at certain vendors or specific facilities. Overlaying this information with your fleet’s operating territory will optimize card use.

Creating a comprehensive fuel management capability

Before deciding, it’s important to determine how a fuel card provider’s system can be integrated with your fuel management system. With that connection, you will enable a comprehensive fuel purchasing and management capability that can include automated fuel purchase reporting and analysis that reduce the need for time-consuming and error prone administrative processes.

Use transaction data to measure the fuel economy of your whole fleet, cost center or individual vehicle by your preferred metric (gallon, litre or miles). Set fuel consumption targets and track them against the actual vehicle performance.

Fuel management systems provide visibility into costs and transactions for real-time insight into fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions, that capability is now more essential than ever considering the many fuel choices available to fleets.

Fleets are under increasing pressure to be more environmentally friendly so taking steps to reduce emissions through effective fuel choices, coupled with the use of advanced fuel management solutions, can help meet green fleet and corporate sustainability goals, and show how important reducing your fleet’s carbon footprint is to your company.

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