Greener vehicles could save firms £20bn

Corporate fleet managers across Europe could cut millions of tonnes of CO2 and save £20bn a year by taking advantage of available green technologies and efficiency techniques.

That’s the conclusion of a Greenpeace-commissioned report by sustainability consultants CE Delft. As well as simply switching to electric and hybrid vehicles, the report covers a wide variety of approaches to reducing fuel consumption.

For example, drivers can be trained to drive more efficiently, cutting fuel costs and emissions by 20%, the report estimates. Retro-fitting vehicles with aerodynamic features, new tyres and weight reductions could also cut fuel consumption by up to 45%.

“The statistics in the report imply that corporate fleet managers have more power over the composition of our atmosphere than most politicians, or even most oil executives,” said a statement from Greenpeace and CE Delft.

Grand scale

Europe’s corporate fleets produce around 380Mt CO₂e annually, accounting for around 8% of all EU emissions and significantly more than the entire emissions of Spain.

Greenpeace senior climate campaigner Barbara Stoll said: “Fleet managers have a surprising amount of power over all of our futures, and with the rapid progress being made in clean tech, they can use that power for good, and on a grand scale.

“Hopefully the enormous potential cost savings will help – instead of asking for sacrifices, we’re just asking them to sacrifice a bit less to oil companies.”

The report cites the example of Tesco, which had reduced normalised transport emissions by 16% since 2011, simply by moving more products by rail and double-decker vehicles.

Green guide

Alongside the Greenpeace report, the UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) released its own guide to help fleet managers choose the most efficient vehicle for their purposes.

LowCVP managing director Andy Eastlake added: “In the UK, 90% of new vans and over half of all new cars were bought by companies in 2014.

“Combine this with the fact that, on average, company cars travel more than twice the miles of private cars and it’s clear that the fleet sector is responsible for most of road transport’s impact on climate change.”

Logistics companies like DHL and the Royal Mail are naturally ahead of the curve on the efficiencies suggested by Greenpeace, but both companies are also trialling other ways to cut fuel consumption, such as ‘reverse logistics’.

Brad Allen

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