It’s “Sick!”

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Sustainable certification will be offered in Edmonton.

In modern lingo, it is “sick” to be sustainable. I recently called a Lyft while on vacation in Florida and my driver, a 23-year-old college football player, showed up driving a Volt. Curious, I asked him why he drives a Volt. He replied, “Why wouldn’t everybody drive a Volt?”

Being a fleet manager means you are in a position to make a real difference in terms of ensuring a greener planet. Choices that you make every day can result in improving, or worsening, the environment. Most of us want to do the right thing, but may have limited resources available, or may not even know what the “right thing” is. Here are three strategies that can be employed in almost any organization to make positive changes:

  1. Choose the right (sustainable) vehicles;
  2. Maintain vehicles properly;
  3. Encourage eco-friendly driving.

Sustainable vehicles

Choosing a sustainable vehicle does not mean you are restricted to alternative-fueled vehicles. It means that you follow a formal selection process in which sustainability is a principal factor considered.

The formal selection process is simple. For each new vehicle acquisition, choose the factors of importance to your organization, rank and weight those factors, and then evaluate the vehicle choices available. The higher criteria, such as fuel mileage and sustainability, are weighted, the more they will figure in your decision.


Proper vehicle maintenance starts with a disciplined approach to pre- and post-trip inspections. Fleet policies should mandate such inspections, and detailed checklists should be provided to operators. These inspections can identify minor defects before they become significant.

Another mainstay of an effective maintenance program is a robust preventive maintenance plan. Oils and filters should be changed according to manufacturer guidelines. Something as simple as a misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%.

Driving habits

Small changes to driving habits, to be eco-friendlier, can also have a big impact. Whatever the fuel type, choosing to park the vehicle and walk is fuel saved. When it is necessary to drive, proper route selection, attention to starting and stopping and eliminating idling can result in significant fuel savings. Encourage all drivers in your organization to ask themselves the following questions, instead of simply jumping behind the wheel:

  • Is this trip necessary?
  • Can it be combined with another trip?
  • Could I walk or bicycle?
  • What is the most direct route?
  • Can I change my starting, stopping or idling habits to use less fuel?

NAFA can help

If you are interested in improving fleet sustainability, NAFA now offers a certificate in this domain. It consists of six one-hour presentations designed to educate fleet professionals on how to create a sustainable fleet program. The series starts with an introduction on building the foundations, and then covers topics such as driver training, sustainable fuels and delivery systems, acquiring sustainable vehicles, measuring sustainable performance, and sustainable leadership and change management.

Best of all, the certificate will be offered live in Edmonton, Alberta on May 7, 2019. Further details on this program will be forthcoming, or you can contact me at [email protected] to find out more.

Categories : Fleet


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