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How Fleet Managers Can Encourage Eco-Driving Habits

November 2008, by Chad Simon

The term "eco-driving" refers to good motoring habits that reduce greenhouse gases and other harmful vehicle emissions. By driving in a more careful and environmentally responsible way and keeping their vehicles properly maintained, fleet drivers can be safer and cut exhaust emissions while saving money at the gas pump.

According to AAA, it costs an average of 22 percent more for gasoline today than just a year ago, while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says each 5 mph driven above the posted speed has the net effect of costing about 20 cents more per gallon of gas. Still, one of the best and easiest ways for fleet managers to improve their overall fuel efficiency is to convince drivers to slow down and maintain a consistent speed.

Communicate, Enforce and Reward

To enforce eco-driving habits, fleet managers must instill in drivers a strong fleet policy that defines what is expected of them and contains consequences for non-compliance, according to Scott Singsank, senior account manager for Wheels Inc. Secondarily, fleet managers must monitor compliance; for instance, a fuel card program that provides driver behavior data managed by exception reporting.

Fleet managers should also communicate with drivers regarding acceptable driving behavior. "Tire pressure is the key to fuel efficiency," said Singsank. "Avoid speeding as much as possible and minimize the unnecessary weight drivers carry around in their vehicles. If a sales representative is required to carry around samples, don't overload the trunk with golf clubs and other equipment. Encourage drivers to care about their mpg."

Another way to entice drivers to comply with the fleet policy is to implement incentive programs that offer rewards for those who achieve above the prescribed fuel efficiency. In addition, Wheels offers a training module specific to fuel efficiency as part of its safety-driving program.

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