The 24th of June 2010 was a big day for Australia. Julia Gillard was sworn into office with the help of a handful of independents and, most importantly, the Australian Green Party. Suddenly ambitious green policies become a real prospect. Tax concessions for green fleet managers are currently thin on the ground however in the current political environment this may not remain the case. While the concept of including car drivers in any carbon policy is not currently on the table it is still very much a possibility in the near future.
1. Explore different fuel types– Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is hands down the most cost efficient and environmentally friendly readily available vehicle fuel. Following this there is a close tie between diesel and petrol. This area is interesting as it depends on how fuel efficient the engine is as diesel emits more CO2 per litre than petrol.
2. Examine vehicle purchasing criteria – Here again attention should be paid to fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions. Its of particular interest when you consider the Luxury car tax which takes fuel efficiency into account.
3. Review driving techniques – Anything which increases the number of litres per 100km will lead to higher CO2 emissions. In this sense encouraging drivers to avoid excessive acceleration and or carrying excessive amounts of equipment could help cut down on CO2 emissions.
4. Focus on maintenance – Fuel filters, spark plugs and air filter changes and inspections are part and parcel of all vehicle services. The inspection/replacements of these parts are critical as if they are unmaintained they can have a negative impact on fuel efficiency.
5. Don't forget tyres – Roll resistance is perhaps one of the most commonly forgotten element of fuel efficiency. Buying low roll resistance tyres can lower fuel consumption and thus lower CO2 emissions.
Current political polling does not give us any certainties on who our next prime minister will be. Be that as it may both political blocks of liberal/national and Labor/Greens + independents advocate some form of intervention in CO2 emissions. The current government advocates the carbon tax and the opposition coalition supports its own “direct action on climate change” plan. With this in mind companies and fleet managers may be best served preparing for more, rather than less, policies which encourage lower emissions.
Irrespective of your position on the climate change debate it still remains sensible to cut down on waste and strive towards more fuel efficiency. Government, on a federal or state level, has the tools to encourage manufacturers or purchasers towards lower emissions. Considering this the best advice remains to keep a close eye on areas like Goods and Services Tax (GST) for emissions friendly tyres/components and tax concessions for fuel efficient or low CO2 emission vehicles. Politicians usually announce the changes subtly ahead of time so its always a good idea to stay tuned into transport ministers and federal/state budget announcements.