London’s Ultra Low Emission Zones shows the need to improve commercial vehicle efficiency.
As of April 8th, London introduced Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) in an effort to reduce the CO2 levels across the UK capital and improve the air quality for the city’s millions of inhabitants.
Currently, the ULEZ covers some of the most popular areas of the city with regulations in force 24 hours a day in Westminster, Covent Garden, Mayfair and Lambeth along with other surrounding areas. Plans are in place for 2021 to expand the ULEZ to include all areas between the North and South circular roads. London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the ULEZ, “a vital step towards helping combat London’s illegal air.”
Most vehicles which are not compliant with the efficiency standards of the zones must pay £12.50 per day, as well as the congestion charge, to enter or face fines of £160. For lorries, however, if they do not meet or exceed the Euro 6 standards, they will be charged £100 per day to enter the zones.
Some see the introduction of ULEZ, and its proposed expansion in 2 years time as the time to change over to electric vehicles or replace older petrol and diesel vehicles with newer more efficient ones.
These vehicle changes could represent vast and unaffordable costs to businesses. For vehicles such as cars and vans, entering the ULEZ 5 times a week, along with congestion charge, means an added £120 in expenses. While those operating in London who need to enter the new ULEZ seem to have little option but to comply with the regulations, or face significant fines, there are still ways to improve vehicle efficiency for commercial vehicles which can benefit businesses across the UK.
Keeping commercial vehicles maintained correctly and running as smoothly as possible is vitally important when aiming to improve efficiency. However, installing vehicle tracking technology has also been shown to improve the efficiency of vehicles and represent significant savings in fuel usage and CO2 production.
One of the areas in which vehicle tracking can improve efficiency is by alerting the driver to behaviour which contributes to increased fuel usage and therefore increased CO2 production. Providing audio and visual feedback to the driver through small in-cab devices which monitor behaviour such as speeding, harsh acceleration and idling, all of which contribute to fuel wastage.
By correcting this behaviour, drivers can reduce the amount of fuel they use and therefore the amount of CO2 which is produced by their vehicle. These reduced levels not only improves the environmental impact of the vehicle but can save the company a significant amount of money.
In addition to improving driver behaviour, vehicle tracking systems produce telematics data which can be analysed by fleet managers to see the broader impact of the system across a fleet.
One case in which vehicle tracking has been very successful in reducing CO2 was with City West Works, now known as ForHousing, who carry out maintenance work on houses across West Salford in Manchester.
Having installed vehicle tracking across over 100 of the company’s commercial vehicles the saving in CO2 emissions came to 40.6 tonnes and a reduction in fuel costs of just under £17,000.
Being able to save such significant amounts in both fuel and CO2 emissions represents a considerable benefit to the environment as well as the company and its finances. Vehicle tracking also provides an option for companies looking to reduce their environmental impact without the expense of replacing vehicles within their fleet.
Business owners and lawmakers alike will be closely monitoring the ULEZ scheme in London and tracking its impact, with a view to possibly introducing similar systems in other cities across the country. For now, however, with an ever more concerted effort being made across society, finding ways to become more fuel efficient should be at the forefront of business managers minds.