Building the Green Machine

Posted on May 1, 2008 by Conor Izzett


It’s not easy being green, at least not all at once. With pressure to shore up emissions coming from corporations to consumers, chauffeured transportation operators might feel overwhelmed, but there are plenty of options and they don’t just involve the vehicles in the fleet. “It’s impossible to roll your whole fleet into green overnight,” says Craig McCutcheon, president of Rosedale Livery Ltd. in Mississauga, Ontario.


He points out that it’s not just on the road that operators can reduce emissions, and he encourages them to look for less obvious solutions. “What is your corporation doing as a whole to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions?” McCutcheon asks. “For example, our garage and had a door guy come in and seal up our main doors. We’ve noticed a huge change in the ability to heat the garage with probably less energy already.”



Many operators want to do what they can to reduce the emissions of their operation, but aren’t sure where to start or how to deal with client concerns. For McCutcheon, that’s where companies such as Green Ride Global (GRG), a firm providing environmental strategies for the transportation industry, come in. GRG, which McCutcheon calls his “third-party marketing arm around our green initiatives,” is available to address such concerns. “When I have a customer call and say, ‘Hey, how come you have a green fee?’ I get GRG to contact the customer, and they can speak on behalf of Rosedale Livery as to what it is that we’re truly doing to reduce our footprint.”


Companies such as GRG also can help operators take action. “At Rosedale Livery,” says McCutcheon, “we’re saying, we’re going to reduce our overall gas emissions in 2008 by three percent. Now you have to be able to measure that, and that’s where a third party like GRG comes in and helps bang on you to say, how are we going to track this? They give you the tools to do that.”


McCutcheon says operators can expect greater restrictions on emissions — such as the New York City TLC requiring black car fuel efficiency to be 25 mpg as of 2009 — to become more commonplace and widespread. “I think it’s going to happen everywhere eventually, and I think what we’ve got to be careful of, is we need to make sure we’re involved in the creation of these types of plans,” McCutcheon says. “At the end of the day, I would encourage all operators to start the process of greening their fleets.


“You need to truly want to be green. If you don’t, you’re never going to really succeed at it.”



OPERATORS CAN USE add-ons to their vehicles, such as the Fuelmiser, or institute no-idling policies, but examining their operations from top to bottom will likely yield more solutions. “What are you doing with your office buildings, with your office?  From a recycling perspective?” McCutcheon asks. He lists more efficient office lighting and computer monitors as just a couple ways to reduce a carbon footprint. “There are all sorts of bits and pieces you can do.”


From a vehicle perspective, operators find themselves facing numerous challenges, from the effects on customer satisfaction to the effects on the bottom line. “The (green) vehicles that would be comparable to the chauffeured vehicles that we’re used to, they’re either too small or they’re too expensive,” McCutcheon says. “You can throw a Lexus 600H in your fleet, but… it’s hard to say I’ll throw in this $100,000 car.” On the other hand, a smaller green vehicle, such as a Prius, may draw customer criticism. McCutcheon recommends educating the customer on current trends in car size, and how they relate to the green changeover: “You have to be able to calm their concerns that a Prius won’t work for [them].”

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