Automotive Fleet

JAN 2014

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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man resources to sales to risk management. Many feets are looking at technological solutions, such as GPS and telematics systems, to increase driver productivity. A primary application for GPS and telematics systems is to enhance route and operational efciency. Other feets are using GPS to modify driver behavior, identify fraud, improve service delivery times, reduce miles driven, and enhance feet safety. However, for some feets, cost constraints continue to delay implementation of these technological solutions. Fleets are looking at telematics as a way to control its spend on fuel. With fuel prices varying by as much as 10 to 15 cents per gallon in a fve-mile radius, feets are starting to use tools to better control where drivers purchase fuel. However, for feet managers, there is a bewildering array of products in the market. "Tere are too many oferings in the market with so many diferent variations in services provided. What should I be considering when making a choice for my feet?" asked one feet manager, who did not want to be identifed. Trends in Sustainability Sustainability continues to gain importance as a top job focus for many feet managers. Te degree of sustainability pressures from management is ofen commensurate with feet size. Corporations, especially multinationals, have publicized their corporate mission statements to shareholders and customers, committing to reducing their corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint. Since vehicle feets are key contributors to corporate GHG emissions, a quick way to meet emissions reduction goals is to modify the feet program. Since most companies replace approximately one-third of their feet vehicles each year, they can tailor selectors to favor the selection of more fuel-efcient vehicles. For most feets, anything that increases fuel economy and allows them to be green at the same time is viewed as a positive. One of the biggest obstacles to fulflling green feet initiatives is the lack of capital spending and shrinking feet replacement budgets. Most commercial feets agreed that, before any green initiative is implemented, it will need to provide an acceptable return on investment. Tis sentiment is shared by other feet managers. "I don't see much more focus being placed on 'greening' the feet in my company. Improved fuel economy will always be a focus and something we can easily afect as manufacturers are required to improve mpg to CAFE standards," said one anonymous feet manager. In addition, as internal combustion engines become more fuel efcient, in the minds of some companies, it reduces the need to examine alternative fuels. Te challenge is fnding a balance. "We are working on our sustainability eforts, while still providing our drivers the best possible tool that allows them to do their jobs," said Switzky of American Family Mutual Insurance Co. Tis was echoed by Bibbo of Novo Nordisk. "We are continuing to improve our CO2 reduction metrics, while still providing employees with vehicles they want." More feets are using eco-driving training as a way to reduce emissions. "We are working on ways to improve sustainability through driver behavior," said Switzky. Although many feets are looking at alternative fuels, there continues to be gaps in available models that can fulfll feet applications. Others question the viability of hybrids as feet vehicles. "Are hybrids really an answer for a feet that has drivers traveling 4,000 miles per month?" asked Woloszynek of National Gypsum. Te cost of alternative-fuel vehicles continues to be a challenge. "Te problem is going 'green' in truly sustainable ways. Most of the propaganda that ends up on the news is not truly sustainable if the lifecycle costs are higher," said Hodgdon of E.A. Sween Co. However, the choices require complex deliberations. "Managing alternative-fuel technology in the workplace is a challenge. Tere are so many versions of technolMEISEL ogies out there and more coming. Sorting through them and building a long-term strategy is tough with a moving target," said Meisel of PG&E. AF JANUARY 2014 I AUTOMOTIVE FLEET 25

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