Corporate fleet managers are feeling the pressure as the new company car tax regime nears, but Government fleets are faced with a double burden.
They have to ensure they keep their drivers informed about the cleanest cars with the lowest tax bills, but are also under politicians' microscopes as a core part of the Government's commitment to cleaning up the environment.
As a result of the pressure to clean up their act, the DSS is providing an important benchmark for corporate fleet managers examining how to alter their fleet policies.
Increasing the percentage of dual-fuel vehicles on the fleet, particularly in urban 'hot spot' areas is a key priority and other targets for the DSS include emissions testing, servicing and promotion of cleaner fuels.
The DSS found these initial targets were rather rigid, difficult to measure and that progress was affected by external forces - such as the availability of LPG refuelling sites.
A more flexible approach was needed and one which would generate wider ownership of the problem, so the DSS joined the Motorvate scheme in February 2000. As part of this a new target was set in terms of CO2 emissions, aiming for a reduction of 12 per cent by 2004, 3 per cent of which must be made by a reduction in mileage driven.
Additionally, all drivers' handbooks now have a section that deals with the environment and what steps drivers can take to minimise their impact.
A user-group where drivers meet with the fleet management team has also been established to keep drivers up to date with the latest developments.
Meanwhile, the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency has a policy that goes beyond the needs of drivers.
It is committed to reducing annual business mileage by 1 per cent per annum over the next 10 years, with no employee allowed to drive more than 15,000 business miles a year after 2002.
It is also increasing the average fuel efficiency of its car fleet, introducing video-conferencing, giving staff opportunities to telework and home-work and providing car sharing and cycling facilities.