While top-level executives may find the positive PR of going green attractive, the cost of transforming entire fleets is not an easy task. While there are certainly benefits tied to sustainability initiatives, the costs are significant, especially if the company has not yet achieved enterprise status.
Here are some of the specific concerns Fleet Managers have about going green:
- -- Lack of capital – Replacing existing gas and diesel-powered fleet vehicles, even over time, will be a significant cost and improving profitability is a common fleet objective.
- -- Limited selection – Because there has not been widespread adoption of alternative fueled vehicles, manufacturers have not developed many commercial-grade vehicles.
- -- ROI – The limited number of analytical models for sustainability initiatives fail to demonstrate increased profitability.
- -- Public support – Fleet managers are not convinced that mainstream America considers a company’s sustainability initiatives when making buying decisions.
- -- Government initiatives – While incentives may provide motivation for launching a green initiative, they will eventually expire, and the ongoing costs may be unaffordable.
- -- Speculation – Of the countless innovations we have seen, some, such as asbestos and tobacco, turned out to be detrimental. How can we be sure that sustainable fuel sources won’t also have harmful effects in the long run?
- -- Cost – In order for widespread adoption of green-technologies among fleets to be feasible, their cost per mile must be less or at least equal to that of gasoline and diesel fleet vehicles.
While striving for sustainable fuels is admirable, it’s importance does not exceed the financial wellness. Granted, it is early in the game, but with the financial hardship we faced in 2008, and continuing struggles faced by many, there must be a feasibility assessment before launching a large-scale green fleet transition.
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