Fleet operators need to step up green

The fleet industry is already doing its bit to reduce its impact on
the environment, but needs extra help and support to have a more
serious impact claims Lex,
the UK’s largest contract hire company.

Lex believes companies could implement cost-effective environmental
strategies by working with their contract hire provider,
manufacturer or fuel card partner when considering how to go that
extra ‘green’ mile.

 “Government legislation has made a positive impact on
reducing emissions across the fleet industry as key items such as
Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and Benefit in Kind taxation are all CO2
based,” explained managing director, Jon Walden.

Walden also noted that higher taxes on private fuel benefits has
reduced the propensity of employees to take the benefit and instead
focused them on lowering fuel costs and improving fuel

The Lex Momentum consultancy team has found, meanwhile, that
companies which take CO2 emissions seriously when building their
company car choice list can dramatically reduce fuel costs. Lex
identified annual fuel cost savings of £16,000 on a customer’s
fleet of 95 cars with an annual fuel spend of £322,000. This was
possible by introducing initiatives to reduce the fleet’s average
CO2 emission rating by just one tax band.

Reducing average CO2 emissions yields benefits to both the employee
and employer. The employee benefits from reduced company car tax
and fuel costs while the company benefits from lower fuel costs,
VED and Class 1A National Insurance Contributions (NIC). The impact
of reducing the average tax band on the same customer’s fleet by
one level will reduce its annual NIC bill by 5 per cent.

 Lex carried out its own survey in January into company car
priorities for 2007 and found that having a greener fleet ranked
third in a list of 10 issues, behind health and safety, and vehicle
running costs.

ALD fleet operator survey

Not much has changed since January, as a similar survey revealed
recently. ALD Automotive, the leasing and fleet management arm of
the Société Générale Group, reported that cutting operating costs
and reducing health and safety risk dominated the workload of fleet

Of the more than 100 respondents to ALD’s online survey, 41 per
cent said “reducing cost” was their single most important objective
while 21 per cent listed it as their second key objective.

Meanwhile, 38 per cent of survey respondents said “reducing
business risk (duty of care)” was their most important fleet
objective with a further 25 per cent rating managing occupational
road risk as second on their list of fleet priorities.

With the recent rise in fuel prices to record levels, 82 per cent
of fleet decision-makers highlighted reducing petrol and diesel
costs as a priority within overall cost control. Notably, 81 per
cent of respondents said they wanted to focus on encouraging
employees to adopt eco-driving techniques to help meet a triple
objective of reducing cost, safety and cutting environmental

Still, reducing environmental impact appeared to be incidental to
the main objective of lowering cost. “It is clear that
environmental matters and reducing their employer’s carbon
footprint is on the radar of fleet operators. However, they see
‘green’ issues under both ‘cost control’ and ‘safety’ and not
simply in relation to widespread concerns surrounding climate
change,” commented ALD marketing director, David Yates.