How Fleet Managers Are Dealing with Green Pressures

Posted on September 17, 2008 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

CHICAGO – About 300 people attended the first ever Green Fleet conference this week at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago.

The event was sponsored by Bobit Business Media’s auto group and focused on corporate and government fleet management issues affected by the green movement.

As is happening in chauffeured transportation, corporate and government fleet managers are facing multi-layered pressure to green up their fleets: from executive management, clients, and local communities.

The event started out with a slide show presented by Automotive Fleet Editor Mike Antich, including the electric-powered Chevrolet Volt, which was launched yesterday and will go on sale a year from now.

There were also shots of the 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, which won the Green Car Journal car of the year award. Nearly all the domestic and import manufacturers are offering hybrids and alternative-fuel vehicles, and showing off concept cars at major auto shows.

Keynote speaker James Bruce, a Washington, D.C. lobbyist, talked about the “cap and trade” issue, and how Congress will most likely pass legislation in the next two years that will affect transportation companies mainly in the area of increased fuel taxes.

Cap and trade started up in Europe after the Kyoto Treaty was adopted by several countries in 1997, and is being adopted by U.S.-based companies. Bruce said it will mainly affect energy, oil, and manufacturing companies, but could increase the cost of fuel.

For fleet managers, success in handling green sustainability programs has boiled down to a few management decisions: acquiring some hybrids and alternative-fuel vehicles; downsizing to smaller engine, higher fuel economy cars; implementing strict idle-time practices; increasing maintenance procedures such as using nitrogen-filled tires; analyzing and tracking vehicle CO2 emissions; and joining larger management programs that include office energy savings, recycling, and other green practices.

For fleet managers with hybrids, they’re finding that the batteries are lasting through the entire lifecycle of the vehicle, which is good news for operators concerned about having to replace expensive batteries.

Source: Jon LeSage, LCT Magazine

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