Fleet News

State of the industry: The environment

Senior figures in the fleet industry highlight the issues that concern them as they face up to fuel price volatility and changes in the tax regime which will impact on next year’s budgets


Nigel Underdown, head of transport advice, Energy Saving Trust

Nigel UnderdownFuel price rises have moderated but fleets still face higher fuel bills.

There has never been a better time to buy lower emission vehicles and ensure drivers achieve optimum mpg.

Fleets that have not considered the 160g/km CO2 limit and writing down allowance changes will face very different costs.

Getting the choice list aligned is complex but the cost implications of getting it wrong are significant.

Mike Waters director, market insight, Arval

Mike WatersThe environment is no longer a distinct area and can underpin all fleet decisions,
from vehicle choice to driver training.

Environmental decisions have an impact on a vehicle’s lifetime costs.

With fuel making up more than 25% of total cost it is an important consideration.

ising fuel prices have focused drivers towards more efficient driving – making their fuel go further, or reducing mileage to the benefit of the environment.

David Yates, marketing director, ALD Automotive

David YatesIt’s inevitable that fleets will become ‘greener’.

But, however it’s presented, it’s likely that the key driver will be cost.

The big issue is how companies will address their fleet policies as a result of the growing costs of running vehicles with CO2 emissions and the proposed changes in corporation tax.

This will have an even more significant impact on fleet budgets.

David Brennan, managing director, LeasePlan UKDavid Brennan

The biggest issue in green fleet management is cost.

With tax changes in April next year, it will make even more economic sense.

The industry needs to find a way through the perception that going green means planting trees.

It’s up to suppliers like us to help fleet managers in making the case that being green means saving money, something that should carry a lot of weight in the current economy.

Marie Jarrold, car fleet controller, BCA

Marie JarroldThere are cost benefits to operating a ‘greener’ fleet and there are now more
eco-friendly vehicles to consider.

We are taking stock of our fleet profile and planning where we want to be in terms of running an efficient fleet.

We are reviewing our choice list to ensure the majority of cars are below 160g/km CO2 and achieve more than 40mpg.

We are issuing a new handbook promoting journey planning and efficient driving techniques.


John Lewis, director general, BVRLA

John LewisBiofuels, fuel cells, hybrids, carbon offsetting, congestion charging…you could
argue that there are too many environmental issues diverting fleet managers from providing safe, reliable, cost-effective and sustainable transport for their organisations.

My advice would be to keep it simple.

Pick the lowest emission vehicles that can do the job and try to get employees to think about how and why they use road transport.

David Rawlings, director, Business Car Finance

David RawlingsWhat better time is there than now to introduce a ‘green’ car policy?

It just makes good economic sense.

The 4x4 that a driver ‘really needed’ may not be so important when his household income is being stretched from all angles.

Smart fleets will focus all their energies on vehicle wholelife costs (including tax).

That will help reduce corporate taxes, save drivers money and in turn reduce their carbon footprint.

Bill Raynal, managing director, Tracker

Bill RaynalThe need to reduce carbon emissions is having a major influence on the global car industry and the impact of this pressure extends well beyond manufacturers and resellers of vehicles.

The environment is becoming a make-or-break issue for businesses in terms of retaining supply contracts.

Organisations are seeing opportunities to become leaders in the low-carbon economy and ‘greening’ their supply chain is a vital first step.

Stephen Joseph, executive director, Campaign for Better Transport

Stephen JosephThe impact of the EU draft directive imposing mandatory targets on new car
emissions will change fleets hugely in the future.

More than a third of passenger surface transport carbon emissions come from commuting and work journeys.

This and high oil prices will keep pressure on firms to manage travel more efficiently and make alternatives to lone car commuting more attractive.



Mark Sinclair, director, Alphabet

Mark SinclairRising energy costs and CO2 taxes mean that green fleet initiatives are now a necessity for companies.

Prioritising green fleet actions is good financial management.

Basing policies on wholelife costs offers firms a green win from running cars with low CO2 emissions; a financial win from selecting vehicles with optimum funding, operational and tax costs; and a personnel win from lower tax and fuel bills and potentially better cars for drivers.

David Dippie, director, Ashbrooke Fleet Management

David DippieWe are finding that drivers are changing their vehicle choices to reflect the costs of
driving environmentally unfriendly vehicles.

This means they are selecting diesel options or tax-efficient, low CO2 emitters.

There is also a slow, but increasing, selection of petrol/electric hybrids where the employer is committed to a green policy.


Diarmuid Fahy, fleet risk manager, ING Car Lease

Diarmuid FahyWhile there is a lot of talk about environmental issues, remarkably few fleets are measuring their carbon footprints.

Only a minority of businesses are actively monitoring their carbon emissions and making informed choices about their fleet profiles.

We need to see a move towards more fleets actually measuring their carbon footprints and making informed choices on that basis.


Nicola Johnson, customer services director, Grosvenor Contracts Leasing

Nicola JohnsonWhile some businesses have clear green fleet aims, others have been ‘petrified’ into inaction by a maelstrom of eco advice and guidance that has confused and complicated the matter.

More emphasis should be placed on the simple and easy-to- implement ways to cut emissions – cutting mileage and choosing more environmentally-friendly cars.

It doesn’t have to be just hybrids and bio-fuels.

Steve Johnson,
director of communications, DriveTech (UK)
Fuel prices might have started to drop
back a little but DriveTech is experiencing
unprecedented demand for its eco-driving
courses. Customers are not only realising that there
are major savings to be made but environmental responsibility is clearly moving up the agenda.
The fleet industry is starting to set a true example, both in terms of risk and cost management.

Phil Moorhouse
managing director,
Northgate Vehicle Hire
Fuel economy and CO2 data should be
published by the van manufacturers and be
available to all fleet operators. A Northgate survey
showed that 80% of 500 fleet owners would like all commercial vehicle manufacturers to publish the information. We published this information on our website. It should be published by the van
manufacturers and be readily available to all fleets.

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