The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is targeting corporate automobile fleets in its newest campaign. Tackling the concept of the power of scale, the EDF encourages companies to educate their employees on how to drive in a more eco-friendly manner. When each of the vehicles in a company fleet is driven in a more efficient way, the power of scale takes over. Small changes make a huge difference.

To help companies embrace the importance of fleet efficiency, the EDF has created The Five-Step Green Fleet Framework.

  1. Measure emissions and set goals
  2. Improve vehicle selection
  3. Improve vehicle use
  4. Consider carbon offsets
  5. Report progress

The EDF offers an online tool that will help companies calculate their fleet-based greenhouse gas emissions. Once the company knows how much fuel their fleet is using and their emissions levels, the company can set fleet efficiency goals.

The first step to achieving these new goals is to improve vehicle selection. The EDF encourages fleet managers to choose the right size vehicle and to incorporate hybrid trucks into their fleet, if appropriate.

While every company won’t be in a position to improve their fleet’s vehicle selection immediately, their employees can drive in a more eco-friendly manner. The EDF encourages companies to share Fuel-Smart Driving tips (PDF) with their employees, ensure that vehicles are maintained regularly, and use available technology to improve driving routes.

The EDF tackles one of the long-term debates about fuel consumption and idling in their driving tips recommendations. Some experts say idling uses less fuel than stopping the car and restarting it; others say, “Turn off that engine.” The EDF is in the latter camp. According to the EDF, idling for more than 10 seconds not only uses more gas than restarting the car but also increases greenhouse gas emissions.

While creating a more energy-efficient fleet will reduce a company’s greenhouse gas emissions, it won’t eliminate them. Electric vehicles aren’t yet a viable choice, and even the best-driven hybrid will still have tailpipe emissions. The EDF encourages companies to look at carbon offsets to move their corporate fleet to net-zero emissions.

Finally, the EDF asks that companies keep track of their progress and share it with other companies, their employees, and the general public. According to the EDF, there are 3 million fleet vehicles in the U.S., and they contribute a total of 45 million metric tons of carbon pollution to our atmosphere each year. If companies were to focus on fleet efficiency, fleet-based carbon pollution could be reduced by 6 billion metric tons annually and companies could realize $2 billion in savings.

Photo: tawalker