Last year, Australia’s transport sector produced almost 19% of the nation’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; increasing by 2.8% from the previous year¹ .
This climb in carbon emissions is attributed, in part, to the escalating use of diesel vehicles and freight activity, buoyed by strong population growth and a steady economy.
Plus, environmentally aware transport and logistics fleets are realising the significant business benefits of ‘green fleet’ management. These include:
- reducing expenses
- saving resources
- improving operational efficiencies
- enhancing your eco-friendly corporate identity
Here we highlight how transport and delivery operations can harness real-time fleet information from vehicle telematics to reduce your environmental impact:
1. Halt Harmful Fleet Emissions
Vehicles contribute to global warming by emitting harmful GHGs, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons, into the air. Diesel-fuelled vehicles are a key source of GHG transport emissions and airborne particles².
In fact, more Australians die prematurely each year as a result of urban air pollution³, from cardiac arrest, stroke, lung cancer or other respiratory disease⁴, than our national road toll⁵.
In contrast, many major cities overseas are banning or taxing diesel vehicles to reduce pollution for public health reasons, and because low-tailpipe-emission alternatives, such as electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles, and clean diesel technologies, are more readily available⁶.
To reduce harmful GHG transport emissions from your fleet:
> Keep vehicles maintained in peak condition for peak performance.
Proactive servicing of vehicles, to a realistic and cost-effective schedule, will ensure each vehicle operates efficiently and uses fuel maximally, i.e. best kilometres per litre.
- For instance, driving with correct tyre pressures, to reduce the drag of under inflated tyres, or to reduce the wear of over inflated tyres, will improve fuel economy and lower fleet emissions.
- Check and change or repair to improve, when appropriate, critical mechanical components such as engine oil, oxygen sensors, air filters, spark plugs, fuel injectors, brakes and so on.
- Modifying exhausts with Diesel Particulate Filters may reduce the negative health effects from particles released during the diesel combustion cycle.
- Inspect brakes as deteriorating brakes don’t release properly and can force a vehicle to work harder to accelerate, thus wasting fuel and increasing carbon emissions.
Driving behaviours, such as speeding, incorrect gears, harsh acceleration, harsh braking and harsh cornering, all waste fuel and resources, as well as increase fleet emissions.
But the good news is, these aggressive behaviours can be modified. On-board telematics devices effectively gather driver data to help companies implement performance-based driver education.
Plus, better driving leads to less collisions, resulting in lower repair bills, fewer material losses, less workplace injuries, and it reduces downtime; which all add up to a much lower carbon footprint.
Leopard Telematics, powered by Geotab’s GO telematics devices, captures rich engine diagnostics and vehicle data from your fleet. This allows you to proactively maintain a servicing schedule; keeping your fleet functioning well, keeping transport emissions low and avoiding possible breakdowns.
Leopard Telematics also tracks aggressive driving behaviours and fuel use, providing useful measures to support and train your drivers to drive more efficiently and safely. Rich telematics data also helps vehicle fleets manage travel times, optimise asset use and maximise productivity.
2. Crackdown on Congestion
With all major cities in Australia experiencing population growth, our roads and transport systems are under pressure. The resulting traffic congestion is a major contributor of carbon emissions. Compared to slow vehicles moving at 20km/hour on congested roads, vehicles travelling smoothly at 60km/hr emit 40% less carbon into the atmosphere⁷.
Additionally, road congestion is estimated to cost the Australian economy over $16 billion each year in lost time, lost productivity, vehicle expenses and the negative health impacts of air pollution⁸. Justifiably, reducing your company fleet’s effect on road overcrowding is paramount.
To minimise road congestion and contribute to Australia achieving a better road network:
> Avoid heavy traffic by using GPS vehicle tracking systems and route optimisation technologies, such as telematics, to intelligently access road systems.
Smart navigation planning reduces kilometres travelled and, when implemented for transport or service fleets, prioritises delivery and work locations in a manner that’s time- and fuel-efficient.
When synced with real-time map and traffic information, vehicle drivers have access to useful information about potential hazards, road blocks and other road conditions.
In turn, this enables wiser decisions to avoid slow routes and not, inadvertently, add to the road congestion problem playing out in a specific location.
> Hand-in-hand with the detrimental effect of congestion increasing carbon emissions is engine idling.
Whether stuck in a traffic jam, or performing a stationary task with the engine running, e.g. doing paperwork or talking on the phone, idling comes at a high cost to your business and the planet.
- An idling light commercial vehicle can waste 2-3 L of fuel per hour, and large trucks, i.e. semi-trailers, can burn up to 4 L of fuel per hour when not moving⁹.
- Aside from fuel waste and carbon emissions, there’s also more engine wear, engine hours, noise pollution and poor air quality due to idling.
- Cutting idling time by just one hour per week per vehicle could have substantial cost benefits to a large fleet – saving via less fuel burnt, fewer oil changes, less maintenance; not to mention the environmental benefits.
Before implementing an idle reduction strategy, you need to know what’s happening in your fleet. You can only manage what you measure; tracking real-time engine idling data via telematics is essential to understand where, when, who and how most of your fleet’s idling occurs, to then improve your operational efficiencies and lower transport emissions.
USE TELEMATICS TO EASE CONGESTION &
Leopard Telematics, powered by Geotab, can be applied to prevent your fleet vehicles from driving on already-congested roads or avoid known high-traffic routes, thus having a positive impact on traffic flow for all road users, while simultaneously reducing fleet emissions via operating with a steadier speed profile and minimal idling.
This valuable information offers insights to manage and reduce idling. Strategies for idle reduction management may involve in-cab driver alerts, exception rules for operational idling, installing idle-off devices, better route planning and optimised loading/unloading for delivery vehicles.
3. Fight Fuel Waste
On the whole, maintaining peak engine efficiency, driving economically, avoiding congestion and reducing idling all contribute significantly to reducing transport emissions.
Yet, there are more ways to optimise or reduce how much fuel your fleet uses, and, in doing so, help combat climate change:
- Heavy vehicle loads use more fuel; so, give attention to intelligent loading of the available space to improve fuel costs on deliveries. Cubing technologies exist to streamline vehicle loading.
- When carrying extra equipment on a truck, e.g. cooling units or mounted cranes, check with suppliers to make sure you’ve got the right size engine to carry the load and use fuel efficiently.
- For medium and large trucks, the after-market addition of aerodynamic aids such as cabin roof deflectors, ‘nose cones’, side fairings and other air deflectors will lower your air resistance and reduce fuel consumption, particularly for vehicles travelling over 80km/h for long distances.
- Also, low-drag tyres may offer better fuel consumption depending on the type of vehicle and operational requirements.
- Opting for less polluting modes of transport or fuel may be applicable to some fleet operations, and takes planning to assess your fleet’s suitability to transition. The most obvious is changing part or all of your operations from diesel or petrol fuels to no-emission Electric Vehicles (EVs) or lower emission Hybrid vehicles; especially eco-friendly when the electricity generation is from renewable sources.
- Advanced fuel technologies, such as biodiesel, LPG, CNG and Hydrogen, if applicable to your operation, or sub-sections of your operation (i.e. clean ‘last mile’ deliveries by foot/bike couriers or cargo bikes) may be worth considering to lower fleet emissions and reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Leopard Telematics, powered by Geotab, gathers precise data on driver behaviour, idling time, vehicle servicing, distances travelled, fuel use and much more – to create an accurate picture of your fleet’s overall environmental impact.
With such valuable information, compiled over time, your company can set realistic goals and establish a robust ‘green fleet’ plan. Measuring and monitoring the success of your sustainability strategy will keep your company on track to achieve even greater environmental stewardship.
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Smart GPS tracking and vehicle diagnostic reporting technologies, such as Leopard Telematics, are making it easier for fleet operations to take control of their conservation efforts and understand their impact on the environment.
- Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: December 2018, Commonwealth of Australia 2019. Accessed at http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/408fcc37-dcfd-4ab8-a4f9-facc6bd98ea6/files/nggi-quarterly-update-dec-2018.pdf
- Coleman S (2016). Built environment: Increased pollution. In: Australia State of the Environment 2016, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra. Accessed at: https://soe.environment.gov.au/theme/built-environment/topic/2016/increased-pollution
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015. Australian Burden of Disease series no. 19. Cat. no. BOD 22. Canberra: AIHW. Accessed at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/burden-of-disease/burden-disease-study-illness-death-2015/
- Keywood MD, Emmerson KM, Hibberd MF (2016). Ambient air quality: Health impacts of air pollution. In: Australia State of the Environment 2016, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra. Accessed at: https://soe.environment.gov.au/theme/ambient-air-quality/topic/2016/health-impacts-air-pollution
- Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities. Road crash casualties and rates, Australia, 1925 to latest year. Produced and published by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Canberra, 2005. Accessed at: https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/publications/2005/pdf/1925-present.pdf
- Climate and Clean Air Coalition. Heavy-duty vehicles initiative: Reducing Emissions from Heavy-Duty Vehicles and Fuels. Accessed June 2019 at: https://ccacoalition.org/en/initiatives/heavy-duty-vehicles
- Haynes, K. E., Li, M. (2004) Analytical alternatives in intelligent transportation system (ITS) evaluation. Economic Impacts of Intelligent Transportation Systems: Innovations and Case Studies. Research in Transportation Economics, Volume 8, 127–149
- Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) 2015 Traffic and congestion cost trends for Australian capital cities. Information Sheet 74, BITRE, Canberra. Accessed at: https://bitre.gov.au/publications/2015/is_074.aspx
- NSW Government, Transport Roads and Maritime Services. Green Truck Partnership, Technology Study: Engine Idle Management. Accessed at https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/documents/about/environment/air/meta-study-engine-idle-management.pdf