Fleet management green fleets: five practical ways to improve on sustainability efforts

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Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

Green fleets are not only more responsible fleets, but more profitable ones as well. The bottom line is that if your fleet is not managed effectively, you will use more fuel and generate unnecessary emissions and excess costs that impact your profitability. Today’s economic conditions and environmental concerns are providing ample impetus for more and more waste managers to implement green policies and solutions.

Green fleets are focused on reducing fuel consumption, mileage and exhaust emissions, and on driving more safely. Investing in new hybrid waste collection trucks and converting to alternative fuels—such as natural gas—will dramatically reduce emissions; however, these fleet upgrades may be out of scope for many budgets in tight economic times. Further, this only addresses some of the issues and should not stop you from implementing other green fleet practices to make a positive impact on your operations and the environment.

From driver behavior to vehicle maintenance to idling times, waste managers can set sustainability objectives and implement these for realistic and measurable results across five key areas.

#1: Improve Driver Behavior
One of the greatest factors directly impacting fuel consumption is individual driver behavior. From speeding to frequent braking, aggressive driving does not actually reduce travel time; it creates greater accident risks and can increase fuel consumption by more than 30 percent. Even the most fuel-efficient vehicles will perform poorly with an inefficient or aggressive driver behind the wheel. It is therefore critical for any green fleet program to tackle driver behaviour first and foremost.

Defensive driving has traditionally been the basis for safety programs, but is now also fundamental to fuel consumption reduction. Defensive driving effectively reduces the three key components of fuelguzzling aggressive driving: over speeding, over accelerating and over braking. However, developing policies for defensive driving is one thing—executing on them is another.

To make this happen you need to have real-time visibility into driver activity and behavior. Fleet management technology solutions typically provide real-time monitoring of driver behavior and driving patterns, allowing fleet managers to influence and coach drivers on more fuel and emissions-friendly driving approaches. All departments usually have access to centralized fleet driving data for a completely transparent representation of a driver’s performance.

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