PHH GreenFleet Program Drives Cost, Fuel Savings

PHH GreenFleet Program Drives Cost, Fuel Savings

Tailpipe -- CC licensed by Flickr user gordasm

Smart vehicle selection, driver education and better maintenance are some of the ways U.S. fleets can improve their bottom lines, use less fuel and trim greenhouse gas emissions.

Fleet management company PHH Arval said Monday its GreenFleet program, which encompasses these and other elements, helped companies cut their fleet operating costs by an average of 7 percent during their first year in the program.

Participants also enjoyed a 16 percent improvement in the miles per gallon achieved, as well as an average 16 percent decline in greenhouse gas emissions.

The company announced the program’s results a day before the Obama Administration outlined new fuel efficiency standards that will boost corporate average fuel economy to 35.5 miles per gallon for model year 2016, with a carbon dioxide emissions rate of 250 grams per mile.

The new standards are expected to save owners more than $3,000 in fuel savings over the vehicle’s lifetime, although some predict the new rules will add about $1,000 to the price of a new vehicle.

There are roughly three million vehicles in the commercial fleet market, a significant number of which are passenger vehicles that would fall under the new standards, according to Jason Mathers, project manager of corporate partnerships with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which worked with PHH Arval to develop the GreenFleet program.

“As the stock becomes more efficient, the opportunities for fleets to also become more efficient will expand,” Mathers told GreenBiz.com.

Fleet managers are constantly searching for ways to cut their fuel consumption and emissions while holding costs steady, a trend noted in PHH Arval’s fleet survey released in July.

Unfortunately, there is a misconception that making fleets greener is costly, possibly due to the assumption that any new technology is expensive and the difficulty of defining green, Mathers said. EDF has worked to nudge fleets to measure their carbon footprint in a bid to redefine green as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Greenhouse gas emissions are tied fundamentally to fuel consumption,” Mathers said. “The less fuel you burn, the lower your emissions. That also notes your efficiency.”

The concept of “rightsizing” vehicles, including moving from six-cylinder vehicles to their four-cylinder counterparts, was still a big focus at a commercial fleet management conference Mathers recently attended.

“We often tell fleet managers the most important environmental decision they make is the type of vehicles they bring into your fleet … Choosing the most efficient vehicle that meets their business needs is the smartest thing they can do for the environment and for the bottom line,” Mathers said.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user gordasm.