Tackling The Grey Fleet Conundrum

Andrew Franklin - Director, Public Sector for Europcar UK, highlights how the latest technology can offer a greener alternative to grey fleet usage

According to a report by the Energy Saving Trust (EST)*, in partnership with the British Vehicle Leasing and Rental Association (BVRLA), there are 14 million grey fleet cars which drive approximately 12 billion business miles each year on Britain’s roads. The report says that this costs the private sector almost £5 billion, with grey fleet vehicles covering 11 billion miles a year, emitting 3.2m tonnes of CO2 and 7,038 tonnes of NOx. And it’s a similar story for the public sector, where grey fleet usage costs £750 million per year with emissions hitting 447,000 tonnes of CO2 and 1,118 tonnes of NOx over 1.5 billion miles.

The challenge for fleet managers doesn’t stop at costs because grey fleets are also more difficult to manage from a duty of care perspective. Figures suggest that grey fleet vehicles tend to be older – typically over 8 years old – and less reliable, leading to the risk of breakdowns, as well as employees potentially driving unroadworthy vehicles. In addition, the impact of the breakdowns to an organisation is significant. There’s lost revenue through downtime as employees can’t get to vital appointments, plus additional transportation costs to get them to their onward destination.

Crucially, organisations should also look carefully at the impact grey fleet travel has on their total emissions, in order to meet their corporate environmental objectives. Generally grey fleet vehicles are older, use more fuel and create higher emissions than company provided vehicles such as hire cars and are less likely to be well maintained.

Another challenge facing organisations whose employees drive their own vehicles for business is that there is no easy way to collect data that will give employers an insight into the condition of a vehicle and driving behaviour. Yet, with many workers using their own vehicles, employers face some clear duty of care challenges to ensure that each grey fleet vehicle has a valid MoT, is taxed, insured for business use and the driver has a valid licence.

The right mobility solution for the job

There are, however, some simple solutions that can help organisations tackle the issue of grey fleet usage without having to commit to significant vehicle acquisition that squeezed budgets simply cannot afford. For example, by using a cost calculator to assess the distance of a journey, employers can identify when it makes sense for an employee to use their own vehicle and when it’s best to use an alternative form of transport. This adds a new dimension to employee travel management whereby the organisation can look at encompassing a variety of transport options, from car hire to car sharing to chauffeur drive which are all provided by Europcar as a global mobility solutions leader. And those options can include electric vehicles (EV), as well as modern hybrid fuel options that are becoming more widely available across the mobility sectors.

With a publicly stated commitment to move our fleet to 5% electric vehicles by 2020, Europcar has been working with our manufacturer partners to integrate both electric and hybrid vehicles into our mainstream fleet for some time. And our focus on embracing the latest fuel technologies, including adding the ground-breaking Toyota Mirai hydrogen vehicles to our fleet, aims to help organisations drive down their emissions and promote greener transport solutions that deliver the same level of convenience and performance our customers expect, while improving air quality on UK roads.

Operating one of the youngest fleets in the car hire industry, combined with availability from one of the most extensive networks of locations, means we help public and private sector organisations meet environmental targets. And our services are accessible through OJEU compliant frameworks, providing a comprehensive range of competitively priced mobility solutions across the UK for public sector users.

Fleet managers keen to stay in control of costs and their emissions can tap into the latest technology to reduce the impact of grey fleet usage. Cost and convenience are going to be key factors when it comes to convincing staff to swap their privately owned vehicle for an alternative. However, these mobility services provide a cost-effective solution without compromising on the flexibility employees need or the environmental options.

For more information and to calculate when car hire is a more cost effective option visit our website.

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