Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

The Green Fleet Price Tag

Taking a hard-numbers approach to your vehicles’ tailpipe emissions and lifecycle cost data will help you improve your ecological footprint without breaking the bank.

July 2011, by - Also by this author

Fleet vehicles are a financial asset and an environmental liability. They keep businesses running, but they're often a company's No. 1 source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and smog-forming pollutants. Cleaner-running vehicles represent a great opportunity to reduce one's ecological footprint. But becoming a better environmental steward comes with a price tag, which is especially tough in a down economy.

Business Fleet asked the lifecycle experts at Vincentric to provide cost data for popular fleet sedan and crossover models along with their outputs of smog-forming pollutants and greenhouse gases. We wanted to see which models offer the best combination of lifecycle cost and environmental benefit.

Vincentric weighed eight cost factors for configurations in the 2011 model year to determine overall lifecycle costs for three years and 60,000 miles. The eight factors are depreciation, fuel, insurance, opportunity cost, financing, maintenance, taxes, and state fees and repairs. These costs were integrated with the Vincentric Fleet Price, which estimates the acquisition cost for each vehicle in the study.

Using data from the Environmental Protection Agency, Vincentric then calculated GHGs (tons per year) and smog (pounds per year) emissions for the 60,000-mile/three-year period.

The Winner

After weighing GHGs and smog outputs against total lifecycle cost, Toyota Prius won hands down. The nation's best-selling hybrid finished first in the lifecycle cost and GHG categories and second in the smog category.

The Fleet Model Environmental Impact and Cost Analysis chart compares lifecycle costs with smog-forming pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions by segment. 

Click here to view the chart.

While the Prius has higher acquisition costs than many models, much of those costs are recouped in fuel savings and higher residual values. The other hybrids in the analysis reaped similar fuel and residual value payback, though to a lesser extent. As to be expected, all six of the hybrid models in the analysis ranked in the Top 10 in lowest levels of GHG and smog output.

Click here for the top 10 vehicles in outputs of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG).

The Ford Focus S, Chevrolet Cruze 1FL and Chevrolet Cruze Eco also placed in the Top 10 in all three categories, proving that vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines (ICEs) also can be cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Volkswagen's Jetta SE finished just outside the Top 10.

Click here for the top 10 vehicles in outputs of Smog-forming Pollutants.

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A gas in the atmostphere that absorbs and emits infrared thermal radiation. Examples of gases include carbon dioxide, methane, oxides of nitrogen (NOx), water vapor, and ozone.

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