At the close of National Clean Air Month, what better time to reflect on the steps we can take to improve air quality? The quality of our air has serious implications on our health. Air pollution can lead to severe medical issues, including a higher vulnerability to infection, impaired cognition, and preterm births. In addition to personal health risks, increased air pollution has a direct impact on climate change.
One of the main contributors to poor air quality across industries happens to be something we simply cannot live without — fleets. Fleet vehicles drive some of the most essential elements of modern life – from supporting the supply chain to safely transporting technicians to and from job locations to perform necessary services. To keep pace with the direction modernity is rolling, we need our fleets; to ensure tomorrow comes, now is not the time to pump the brakes on reducing carbon emissions.
Most of the air pollution we see and breathe comes from energy production and use, with smog and soot the two most prevalent types. Smog comes from combusting fossil fuels reacting with sunlight – exhaust. Heavy-duty vehicles are one of the main contributors to smog worldwide, generating more than 25% of total warming emissions. Globally, air pollution is now the world’s fourth-largest risk factor for early death. According to the most recent State of Global Air report, 4.5 million deaths were linked to outdoor air pollution exposures in 2019.
To green your fleet, GPS Insight shares six ideas for managers to create a more sustainable driving workforce:
- Promote efficient driving: The first step in improving sustainability in your fleets is to get your drivers on board. Ultimately, they are your most important advocates as their driving habits have a direct impact on fuel usage and exhaust output. By training your drivers on energy-efficient best practices, fleet managers can work towards a smaller carbon footprint without compromising productivity.
- Reduce idling: The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that an idling truck will waste nearly a gallon of fuel each hour. Unnecessary vehicle idling increases engine wear—polluting the air and draining your battery. Vehicle data can alert you of these inefficient driving practices so you can correct them with your drivers.
- Leverage preventative maintenance: GPS tracking solutions provide automated maintenance reminders so you can stay up-to-date on regular vehicle maintenance like oil changes, tire rotations, air-filter changes, and emissions testing to improve performance. Properly maintaining vehicles can increase a fleet’s MPG by upwards of 25% - better for the environment while cutting back on fuel costs.
- Increase route efficiency: Barriers between back office and the field can lead to more time spent on the road. Optimizing your scheduling and dispatch processes through field service management software (FSM) helps field managers identify more efficient routes before dispatching workers to their next jobsite. FSM and GPS tracking are the one-two punch for scheduling the greenest routes possible.
- Right-size your fleet: Identifying and purchasing the most appropriate size and class of vehicle for the intended application will cut down unnecessary emissions. Consider purchasing the greenest options possible to help reduce air pollution while increasing public demand for green vehicles. If smaller vehicles meet your business needs, there is no need to upsize.
- Electrify: For fleets looking to take their green initiatives even further and get a head-start on the future of transportation, the electrification of your fleet is a viable option. Introducing EVs to your fleet will drastically cut maintenance and operating costs while shrinking your fleet’s carbon footprint. An EV fleet strategy will also bolster sustainability goals demanded by the public – a win for the planet and your PR.
We have a responsibility to ourselves, our neighbors, and future generations to implement smart and sustainable practices – and we can’t afford to wait any longer. The time is now for businesses and organizations with fleets out on the road to make collective, effective sustainability efforts.
About the Author: Brian Canlas is product manager at GPS Insight. This article was authored and edited according to WT editorial standards and style. Opinions expressed may not reflect that of WT.