Green Operations

Mapping a Sustainable Fleet Strategy

July 2010, Green Fleet Magazine - Feature

by Cindy Brauer - Also by this author

Fleet management's role in corporate sustainability initiatives is often critical to achieving program goals in cutting energy consumption, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting good "corporate citizenship." Some industry data estimates the average fleet vehicle each year will log 20,000 miles and emit  19,000 to 27,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Even during corporate bottom-line-wary times, many companies continue to pursue green fleet measures. In its 2010 Green Survey, PHH Arval reports corporate interest in fleet's environmental impact remains steady, according to Karen Healey, PHH director of project management, including environmental initiatives. In addition, while the economic downturn has slowed fleet environmental initiatives for 21 percent of PHH survey respondents, 28 percent said their sustainability measures have accelerated.

Building an eco-responsible fleet requires research, good planning, and effective implementation. Two companies, AT&T and ServiceMaster, share their best practices in developing a sustainable fleet strategy.

Building Right Mix of Green Vehicles & Technologies

In March 2009, AT&T announced it would invest up to $565 million as part of a strategy to deploy more than 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles by 2019. According to company statistics, AT&T currently operates more than 77,000 vehicles.

The company's 15,000 alt-fuel vehicle goal will displace 2.5 million barrels of oil, reduce carbon output by 211,000 metric tons, and create or save 5,500 jobs, according to the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute.

The communications giant expects to spend an estimated $350 million over five years to purchase approximately 8,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. The company is also working with natural gas service providers to build up to 40 new CNG fueling stations across its operating region to provide the infrastructure needed for the new vehicles.

AT&T's green fleet plan includes an approximately $215 million investment to replace 7,100 fleet passenger cars with alternative-fuel models. The measure will save 49 million gallons of gasoline over 10 years, according to the Center for Automotive Research.

In addition to CNG-powered vehicles, AT&T is deploying electric-hybrid OEM sedans and compact SUVs, electric-hybrid conversion work trucks, and all-electric vans. The company recently added an all-electric Smith Newton cargo truck to its commercial fleet in St. Louis.

Other sustainability measures AT&T implemented include an idling reduction policy and promoting eco-smart driving habits among its company drivers.

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