European fleets pessimistic about further fuel efficiency

Brussels, Belgium:  A new report released yesterday by Goodyear Dunlop reveals that despite efforts to improve fuel efficiency, 1 in 7 European road hauliers predict they will be out of business within eight years unless drastic developments are made to improve fleet fuel efficiency. At a dedicated fleet symposium that took place in Brussels today, Goodyear Dunlop presented several recommendations to help commercial road transport sector to improve their fuel efficiency.

The fuel consumption of a vehicle has a direct impact on its CO2 emissions.  Goodyear Dunlop’s Road to 2020 report shows that a third (30%) of European fleets currently has no plans in place to respond to expected Europe-wide CO2 regulation. In its most recent Transportation White Paper, the European Commission gave fleets clear indications that further regulation and taxation on fuel and CO2 emissions will be introduced in the coming decade.

At the same time, fleets are looking at industry and policy-makers to help them achieve greater efficiency:

  • 1 in 3 want the EU to invest in fuel efficient technology and development programs;
  • 1 in 4 want a modeling tool that predicts the cost and CO2 savings of investments in green equipment and training;
  • 1 in 4 want more information on the factors affecting fuel efficiency;
  • 1 in 5 want European legislation that incentivizes efficient fleets.

“The road freight sector is facing enormous pressure to help meet Europe’s ambitious climate change targets, but despite their commitment to fuel economy, we found many fleets could be better prepared to handle the cost and operational impacts of a potential carbon regulation,” said Michel Rzonzef, vice president, Goodyear Dunlop commercial tire business EMEA.

“The research confirmed that the overwhelming majority of fleets already have robust fuel efficiency measures in place, and therefore struggle to see what else they can do to improve efficiency and lower carbon emissions to achieve even stronger goals. Low rolling resistance tires are one option to improve a fleet’s fuel efficiency amongst others, such as eco-driving training for truck drivers, improved logistics, route planning and aerodynamics on vehicles.”

With prices at the pump rising and 2 in 5 fleets reporting they are under customer pressure to green their operations, it is unsurprising that over 9 in 10 fleets are already working to improve their fuel economy:

  • 7 in 10 have invested in eco-driving training;
  • 6 in 10 have procured more efficient vehicles;
  • 2 in 5 have improved logistics and route planning;
  • 2 in 5 have switched to more fuel efficient tires.

With only 8% of fleets having taken no action to reduce their fuel use, Europe’s road hauliers are skeptical about how much more they can do to increase efficiency and drive down emissions.

  • 7 in 10 European fleets currently work toward a self-imposed target for either fuel savings or CO2 savings. With substantial efforts already underway, fleets are conservative in estimating possible further efficiency savings:
  • 52% of fleets do not think they can achieve further efficiency savings of more than 10%;
  • Only 1 in 10 believes the sector can achieve the 20% efficiency savings target outlined in the EU’s 20-20-20 low-carbon commitments;
  • 1 in 5 fleets are unsure as to whether any further savings can be made.

However, fleets from countries with lower fuel prices are more optimistic. In Poland and Spain, where fuel costs are below the EU average, a fifth of fleets are confident they can achieve a further 20% efficiency savings by 2020.  But in the UK where fuel prices are higher than the European average, a third of fleets says that they have done all they can to improve fuel efficiency, and no more savings can be made.

Based on the findings, Goodyear Dunlop calls on policy-makers to consider the following recommendations to help the commercial road transport sector reduce emissions and improve efficiency:

  • Making tyre pressure monitoring systems mandatory on all new heavy vehicles;
  • Investing in improved tire pressure monitoring technology for Heavy Duty Vehicles;
  • Offering incentives to those fleet operators who invest in aerodynamic improvements or purchase tires that achieve A, B, C grades on the new EU tire label, in rolling resistance and wet grip;
  • Adjusting EU restrictions on weight and height for heavy vehicles to improve efficiency.

This report was launched at Driving fuel efficiency in Europe’s road freight transport – A Goodyear Dunlop Fleet Symposium and is  are available as a download.

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