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Sharp rise in fleets setting green targets, says Alphabet

The Alphabet Fleet Management Report (AFMR) 2012 shows that the number of organisations that have set green fleet targets has dramatically increased over the past year; from 45% in 2011 to 79% in 2012.

The report also found that the private sector is narrowing the gap when it comes to green fleet targets – 83% of public sector companies now have green targets (up from 67% in 2011), versus 79% of the private businesses surveyed (a marked increase from 38% in 2011).

However many companies are still concerned about the apparent cost of “going green”. Cost was stated as the main barrier to reaching green targets by 52% of the fleet managers surveyed. When asked why, 91% of public sector fleets and 76% of private companies pointed to the cost of changing to greener vehicles as the biggest hurdle.

Paul Hollick, sales and marketing director, Alphabet commented: ‘Pursuing green fleet policies will deliver cost savings in a number of areas for companies, especially fuel. Around half of fleets see the cost of changing vehicles as the main barrier to attaining these goals however. The suggestion is that many would like to bring forward the replacement of existing vehicles with lower-CO2 models but have not done so because of the additional up-front costs for the early termination of contracts.’

He added that those companies that are concerned should switch to Whole Life Cost calculations, as opposed to lease-cost-based choice lists, as a more effective means of identifying whether vehicles should be changed and think in three or four year “blocks” rather than focusing on first-year savings.’

The report also found that switching to lower CO2 vehicles remains the leading means of lessening vehicles’ environmental impacts for 64% of the companies surveyed, with ECO driving courses and tracking fuel data via fuel cards the next most popular choices (both 44%). Use of fuel cards in particular has taken a leap forward; rising by 14% year on year.

Despite the accepted benefits of telematics as a means of accurately capturing environmental data, the number of fleets using it dropped from 41% in 2011 to 35% in 2012. This was due to considerably fewer private sector fleets (26%) reporting that they used telematics data. Its use by public sector operators, however, increased from 53% to 66%. 

The AFMR 2012 also asked fleet managers what their primary concerns were when considering alternative sources of fuel. The lack of a suitable product was the chief reason for the majority (56%), closely followed by a lack of refuelling / recharging options (54%) and anxiety over the range of alternative fuel vehicles (41%).

Meanwhile the number that have invested in electric vehicles has seen a small increase; from 22% in 2011 to 28% in 2012. While concerns about product availability, recharging and range remain, hybrid vehicles are currently the green option of choice for most companies, as was the case in 2011 where 37% of companies had invested in hybrids rising to 40% in 2012. 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.