A hybrid car being charged at a charging station

Inefficient fleets cost English SMEs £1bn

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Small and medium-sized firms in England are wasting £1bn a year due to misconceptions about how to reduce fuel costs, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

The organisation said that some businesses believe training drivers in fuel efficiency won't make a difference. Others assume that adding electric vehicles (EVs) or hybrids to their fleet won't have much of a positive outcome, or they have concerns about vehicle range or the price of these more eco friendly models.

Responding to the findings, Andrew Benfield, director of transport at the Energy Saving Trust, explained:

"Something as simple as providing fuel efficiency training for drivers has been shown to cut consumption by 15% straight away. Even if old habits return, a long term saving of 5% improvement in fuel economy is still more than possible.

"A common view we have encountered is that hybrid vehicles are considered too expensive, but it may be that operators aren't adopting a whole-life approach to measuring this.

"Factoring in fuel costs and National Insurance contributions -- both of which are linked directly to the vehicle's CO2 emissions -- are the two most important elements in addition to lease price, service and maintenance costs as well as congestion charges that should be considered."

Looking at the decision making process when it comes to buying new fleet vehicles, the Energy Saving Trust found that fuel efficiency is second only to reliability. The research also revealed that van-based fleets are more aware of available fuel types than car-based fleets and are more likely to train drivers on fuel efficiency.

English SMEs that manage their own fleets have 2.4 million vehicles on UK roads.

Supported by funding from the Department for Transport, the Energy Saving Trust offers a free Green Fleet Review which looks at how firms can reduce costs and mileage and maximise fuel efficiency. It can also help fleet managers understand opportunities to introduce pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

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