157.7 million tonnes - that is the amount of CO2 that transport alone produced in 2013. According to the Committee on Climate Change, that’s around a quarter of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

If the UK is to reach its target of an 80% (minimum) reduction in CO2 by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels) – a goal that was first proposed in the 2008 Climate Change Act and also outlined in last year’s Paris COP agreement – there is still much work to be done, and government agencies, businesses and individuals alike all have a large role to play.

The incentives to reduce CO2 for individuals and businesses are often similar due to the rising cost of fuel: doing the right thing actually saves money. Therefore, more and more businesses are adopting new technologies in order to measure and reduce the impact of their vehicles on air pollution.

How to calculate your fleet's carbon footprint

So how much CO2 does your business actually emit? There are 2 ways to calculate the environmental impact of your fleet: a mathematical estimation or an accurate measurement.

1) Mathematical estimate

Step 1 - how many litres of fuel?

If you know how many litres of fuel you buy each month, this step is easy. If you don’t, take the number of miles that your fleet has completed in one month, and your average MPG. With the miles and miles-per-gallon, you can calculate the number of litres of fuel your fleet burned.

Step 2 - how many kilograms of CO2?

One litre of diesel corresponds to 2.68kg of CO2. So you can simply multiply your litres by 2.68 to get to your kilograms of CO2. Most of our customers’ fleets run on diesel, but if you have a mixed fleet you can also use the emissions number for petrol (2.31 kg/l) or something in between.

Example

Imagine you run a fleet of 100 vans. Every month, each vehicle covers 1500 miles at an average MPG of 25. That means each vehicle burns 60 gallons of fuel each month (1500/25) - or 272 litres. 272 litres of diesel correspond to 728 kg of CO2 (272 * 2.68 = 728). So your entire fleet’s emissions are 72,800 kg of CO2.

That’s a pretty big number that is worth investigating. However, it remains a very rough estimate, because each vehicle’s actual consumption varies depending on make and model, age and the driving style of your mobile workforce. So this method makes it pretty much impossible to know exactly which levers to pull to get the costs and emissions down.

2) Accurate measurement with telematics

Time to take a look at a more precise method: telematics. Today’s vehicle tracking technologies collect information on MPG and real fuel consumption straight from each car’s computer, and then run analysis on this data to spit out actionable insights. One simple dashboard then provides Fleet and Operations Managers with an overview as well the ability to dive into car-by-car results.

You can see the real MPG of each car at any point in time and compare them on the same route, or compare performance across the same car model. A simple dial on the dashboard shows you fuel consumption on aggregate, while automatic reports highlight the best actions to improve your environmental impact.

From insights to action

Speeding and idling are the first points to fix. They waste lots of fuel, and are relatively easy to attack once you have driver behaviour data and scores. Our reports show idling over 2 minutes as yellow bars that are easy to pick out. You can also set up alerts for speeding over a certain threshold, or go through the ranking of drivers by their ratio of harsh driving events.

If you’d like to go one step further, you can add in-cab coaching devices that beep at your drivers when they’ve been idling for too long. That type of immediate feedback has been proven to be very effective, because it engages drivers and reduces the need for additional management or training. Our customers have also seen reductions of up to 70% in speeding with in-cab coaching.

Finally, long routes waste fuel and your employees’ precious time. Telematics data can help you optimise your route scheduling and find the vehicle closest to a customer, which will in turn reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.

City West Works

“Cutting down CO2 emissions and reducing fuel costs have been high priorities for us. We’ve saved just short of £17,000 in fuel alone and reduced CO2 emissions by 40.6 tonnes thanks to Masternaut’s solution."

John Ashworth, Facilities Officer at City West Works.