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Fleet Sustainability Best Practices for 2021

Green fleet strategies have grown in importance in recent years. Having a well-balanced sustainability strategy shows a progressive attitude towards controlling carbon emissions and helps to increase efficiency and lower costs.

But as a fleet manager in charge of scaling your fleet and increasing productivity and performance, what are some steps you can take to improve your sustainability efforts? Below we’ll address some of the top fleet sustainability best practices for 2021.

Understanding Biden’s Sustainability Agenda 

While campaigning, President Biden clarified that the environment was at the top of his to-do list. Now in office, he’s signed several executive orders that have prioritized the environment. As part of his sustainability agenda, Biden’s administration will require public companies to measure and disclose climate risk and GHG emissions.

As a result, it’s up to organizations to start assessing, managing, and reducing their climate-related risk and to keep ahead of increased climate regulations. Taking active steps in this area will keep your business compliant and improve its favorability to investors and allow you to continue to grow and innovate.

Emphasize The Importance of Vehicle Idle Reduction

Excessive vehicle idling not only increases spending on fuel and maintenance, but it leads to increased carbon emissions that can significantly impact sustainability efforts. Click To Tweet

While removing vehicle idling times altogether isn’t an option in conventional combustion engine vehicles, it is something that fleet managers should strive to reduce. Solutions like Derive VQ Efficiency in combination with custom vehicle calibrations give fleet managers the ability to control their vehicle performance, optimize idle management, lower fuel consumption, and improve their bottom line.

Many times, factory engine calibrations and idle times are not optimal for improved sustainability standards. Some industry experts say that idle times represent 40 to 50 percent of the total running time of a vehicle and can waste a gallon or more of fuel per hour. Other negative consequences include:

  • Massive environmental impact
  • Additional money spent
  • Unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle 
  • Shortens the life of the engine

Here are a couple of ideas that can help you prevent idling:

Educate Your Drivers

Often, idling occurs because of misinformation. There’s a myth that exists that engines need to be “warmed up” before driving. In reality, gentle driving is the best way to warm an engine up. Most vehicles don’t need anything more than 30 seconds of idling, even in cold weather, before oil properly circulates and lubricates critical engine components.

Drivers do not need remote engine starters in most fleet formats, as this is another fuel waste. Many drivers also believe that idling is a better alternative than restarting a vehicle. However, it’s important to note that restarting your vehicle has minimal impact on the engine’s components. 

Arming your drivers with the proper knowledge is essential to reducing idling and keeping your fleet more sustainable.

Invest In Fleet Management Solutions

As noted above, while completely reducing your idling time isn’t an option for everyone, there are steps fleets can take to reduce their environmental impact. Idling reduction technology combined with a customizable fleet management solution is a great place to start.

Using a solution like Derive VQ, OBD devices are installed in vehicles and help reduce unnecessary idling. When combined with a fleet management solution, fleet managers get complete visibility into their fleet vehicles in one unified platform. If concerning trends arise, fleet managers can quickly identify areas of improvement and work with drivers or technicians directly to address issues.

Increase Fleet Fuel Efficiency

Fleet Sustainability

There are a few different ways to increase your fleet’s fuel efficiency without acquiring new vehicles. As noted above, avoiding excessive idling is always a best practice. However, training your drivers and enforcing best practices on when and how to operate their vehicles — especially when deciding on when vehicles should be stationary or idle — is a significant step forward when decreasing fuel waste. Here are two other ways you can increase your fuel efficiency.

Maintain Your Vehicles 

Be proactive when it comes to maintaining your fleet. Without proper tire inflation and rotation, oil changes, and other scheduled maintenance, poor vehicle performance will negatively impact your fuel efficiency. Keep your fleet in good working order by staying on top of these to-do items because it will help keep you from making unnecessary repairs.

Drive More Efficiently

When drivers of fleet vehicles observe the speed limit, remove excess weight from the vehicle, use cruise control, and map more efficiently, they use fuel-saving routes. This increases fuel efficiency and is ultimately a sustainable practice.

Improve Reporting for Fleet Sustainability Officers

Whenever possible, use technology to automatically track emissions, idling metrics, and any other measurement you need to execute and manage a green fleet plan long-term. By doing this, you make it that much easier for fleet sustainability officers to do their jobs and to optimize fleet sustainability practices for the organization. 

Think Smarter, Not Harder

When people hear “sustainability best practices,” they often default their focus to electric vehicle usage and fuel efficiency. However, there are quite a few ways that you can be green without making massive changes to your business operating model. Here’s how you can increase your company’s sustainability practices without making drastic changes to your vehicle assets.

Make Safety Part of Your Company Culture

It’s essential to strike the right balance of safety, performance, and sustainability in your fleet. However, by instilling a safety-first mentality into your drivers and making it part of your company culture, you’ll organically cut down on vehicle collisions, injuries, high repair costs, and unnecessary downtime. All of this means fewer resources and materials used, which inevitably supports your sustainability strategy.

Consider Buying Local 

You’ve probably heard the “buy local” mindset touted before, and it’s because this is a core component of sustainability. It’s all about how far a product travels. If a product travels across the country to get to you, it requires more mileage, hours, fuel consumption, etc. Whenever possible, spend time researching local vendors and how you can work with organizations that are close to you.

Have a “Green” Mindset

You’ll be shocked at how much your perspective switches as soon as you start trying to be “green.” You’ll stay in tune with the fleet industry through the media, vendors, and conferences. You’ll suddenly look for information about local services. You’ll seek out ways to cut down on resources and optimize your vehicles. You’ll increase your fuel efficiency and reduce engine idling. By transforming your mindset, you’ll play a small part in transforming the planet.

Final Thoughts

Right now, governments and businesses alike are working toward sustainable practices that allow them to give back to the planet. If you’re not doing the same, your company could be left behind.

Derive Systems wants to help give you the information and tools you need to create a green business practice. Visit here to learn more about how we can help.