These days society is far more aware of the need to reduce the use of fossil fuels and the level of emissions that pollute the air we breathe. 

Fuel powers our industry and our vehicles, however, there are ways we as industry leaders can assist our drivers to ensure they drive “greenly” to help reduce emissions, and to help cut fuel costs at the same time!

The environmental cost of burning fuel

Fuel is not only a cost to the business, the emissions from burning fossil fuel affect us all

  • Emissions can affect our health through the air we breath
  • Emissions help accelerate the changes in climate
  • Damage to the Ozone layer 

Conserving/reducing fuel consumption is one of the key ways we can reduce our impact on the environment without having to make the investment into electric vehicles.

What can you do as a business leader to cut these environmental costs?

Recognising your responsibility for the health, prosperity, and quality of life of all of your employees, customers, suppliers and the public, and taking the relevant action to protect the environment for future generations is key to becoming part of the movement to create a better world.

Commit to monitoring and reviewing your company fuel consumption, and related emissions throughout the year – this will help you to see your fuel costs in plain view and improvements down the line.

How to help drivers to think and drive in a more fuel efficient way?

Helping your drivers to understand that by making small changes in the way they drive will have an impact on their health, and encouraging them to see that reducing emissions also helps the company be more fuel efficient is better for them and for the company.

  • Monitor harsh acceleration and harsh breaking through Telematics
  • Make it your policy that drivers set their limiter at 52 mph on motorways, rather than at 56 mph – this saves …% of fuel. 
  • Make it your policy to not allow engine idling when they are parked 
  • Consider having careful refuelling as part of your drivers’ code of conduct, to avoid unnecessary spillages
  • Provide e-learning that guides them to think differently about fuel consumption and planning well ahead

Encourage your drivers to be part of your team effort to reduce emissions and fuel costs – you could even reward drivers who reduce their fuel consumption!

Top tips for all staff, to help monitor emissions and air quality

Here are some top tips for your drivers and office staff:

  • If they notice that one of your vehicles is showing signs of visible exhaust smoke – report to the workshop or add to the Drivers Daily Defect report. The Workshop can check this by using a diesel smoke meter to ensure that the level of smoke emission is within the legal requirements. Information on the levels of permitted exhaust smoke is contained in DVSA‘s annual test inspection manual found here. 
  • When vehicles are fitted with emission control systems (ECS) drivers and operators are required to monitor the ECS warning lamps, plus they should ensure the diesel exhaust fluid level (AdBlue®) is maintained correctly. Train out drivers on these two important items.
  • Any emission control system faults need to be rectified as soon as possible and repaired in line with the manufacturer’s standards.

Penalties for failing to maintain your emission control system

If you don’t maintain your emission control system, or modify it or even worse remove it, you could be found guilty of an offence. This would put your O-Licence at risk and the potential penalties are from £2,500 to unlimited fines depending on which part of the Road Traffic Act you have breached.

Road Skills Online’s 36-month Drivers’ PDP

Road Skills Online’s 36-month professional development plan has been created to provide your drivers with regular reminders of the dos and don’ts of the job. Each month we deliver an e-learning based Toolbox Talk covering everything from minimising high-risk behaviours such as speeding and use of mobile phones to other key skills like effective teamwork and customer service. To find out more and book your free 30 minute demonstration please click the banner below.

Sources| Department of Transport 2017 | Highway Code Rule | Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness from the DVSA | GOV UK – reducing emissions | GOV UK – maintaining roadworthiness 

Published| April 2021

* see separate blog on speed