The UK's 14 million private vehicles used for business – or 'grey fleet' – is responsible for 3.6 million tonnes in CO2 emissions, and costs employers £5.5 billion a year.
It's 'hiding in plain sight' and threatening health, safety and efforts to tackle climate change if more isn't done to make up for years of being neglected by transport policy.
Those are the headlines from Getting to grips with grey fleet, a new collaborative report from Energy Saving Trust and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA).
The report is the biggest effort ever to quantify the scale and nature of the UK grey fleet, and was certainly needed, as the issues associated with grey fleet go beyond carbon.
Our researchers found that grey fleet vehicles are some of the oldest – averaging 8.2 years – and least safe vehicles on our roads, while also emitting high levels of air pollutants.
The UK is under pressure to take serious action on air pollution in order to reduce related deaths and illnesses.
Incredibly, the report highlights that annual NOx emissions of grey fleet vehicles in the UK are equivalent to twice those of London buses. Actively managing grey fleet can reduce mileage by 15 per cent, which would achieve the equivalent pollution reduction of taking 225,000 cars off the road altogether.
If the case for businesses and organisations getting to grips with their grey fleet wasn't clear enough, the billions of pounds worth of mileage claims and car allowances make for a big financial incentive. The alternatives include rental cars, car club vehicles and company cars. Andrew Benfield (pictured), EST’s Group Director of Transport, explained more about what companies can do:
“Bosses should introduce rigorous electronic mileage management systems to reduce ‘mileage inflation’ by employees claiming a mileage allowance, and remove the incentive to drive unnecessary business miles.
“Car rental should be adopted for any work-related vehicle journey over 55 miles and a vehicle should be leased for employees driving at least 10,000 business miles per year. Employers should also incentivise alternatives to driving such as public transport, cycling and walking.”
With the BVRLA targeting a 50 per cent reduction in grey fleet mileage and costs by 2020, a major push is needed to highlight the alternatives to grey fleet use and spread best practice guidance. The public sector is in the spotlight as a key target of efforts.