Fleet sustainability efforts soaring

According to a new survey conducted by NAFA Fleet Management Association, more than 76% of fleets have incorporated sustainability initiatives in the past 12 months. That’s good news in a year that saw many fleets struggling to get past the recession.

The non-profit group surveyed approximately 200 fleet managers in July. Results indicated that 76.6% of corporate fleets have sustainability programs, up from 64.5% in last year’s survey. That’s a very positive trend.

Public service fleets are more aggressive, the survey reported, and use a larger variety of methods and alternative fuels than their corporate counterparts. Three-quarters of all service fleets use a mix of hybrid, alternative fuel, and other fuel-efficient vehicles in their fleets. There is also a trend to downsizing the engine, with more than one-third shifting to 4-cylinder vehicles.

Another positive trend: 17.5% reported they have made the move to use only hybrid vehicles.

Corporate fleets also are using a mix of hybrid and other fuel-efficient vehicles, with 59.2% reporting that is their approach. And 55.1% reported downsizing to 4-cylinder vehicles, with 36.7% using alternative-fueled vehicles.

Corporate fleets were also more interested in becoming carbon neutral, with 10% purchasing carbon offsets, twice the percentage of public service fleets.

One concern from the study, though, is the number of fleets not developing sustainability programs. In fact, 86% of corporate fleets and 70% of public service fleets that currently do not have a program indicated they have no intention of starting one. Why?

Fuel use also saw a variety among fleets, although 91% of corporate fleets report using E85 in their vehicles. No other fuel topped 10%. Public service fleets offered a little more variety, with 64.4% using E85 and 63.5% running vehicles on biodiesel.

Compressed natural gas is used by 33.7 of public service fleets and liquefied petroleum gas at 16.3%.

Public service fleets also reported their plans to add more vehicles with 66.4% planning to add light-duty hybrids, 57.9% adding E85-capable vehicles, 52.3% adding biodiesel, 44.9% implementing battery-electric vehicles, 32.7% adding plug-in hybrids and 29% adding heavy-duty hybrids.

Corporate fleets are mostly interested in adding light-duty hybrids, 63.8%, and E85, 53.2%.