Why Smarter Fuel Choices Can Have A Greater Impact Than Just Pence Per Litre

An effective fuel management strategy can have a greater impact than simply pence per litre - it can help to reduce costs, improve efficiency and also reduce the impact that harmful emissions have on our environment and the health and wellbeing of the workforce and public.

With the UK’s air quality strategy looking at ways to do-away with old diesel vehicles and the media filled with headlines of record high air pollution health warnings, the huge backlash against traditional diesel shows no sign off quieting down.

Whilst we are all aware of the impact that heavy use of diesel has on the environment, the reality is that we can't just switch off our reliance on diesel overnight, especially for businesses whose fleets and machinery rely on it to keep moving.

So what is the solution? Electrification is often regarded as the future of green and sustainable vehicles, with many commercial vehicle manufacturers recently announcing their intentions of going fully electric within the next decade. However, the current state of technology means that electrification of entire fleets is simply not yet a viable option - reduced range, weight of vehicle issues, cost and availability of infrastructure to charge electric vehicles, all present challenges to efficiency and cost-effectiveness that make mass uptake in the technology unlikely.

Instead, at least in the short to medium term until battery technology and electrification infrastructure has developed further, there is a need to consider solutions that do not require huge levels of investment or cause activity to grind to a temporary halt. Certas Energy’s alternative fuel offering is Shell’s Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) fuel, which is a paraffinic fuel that is proven to lower levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by up to 40 per cent and particulate matter (PM) by up to 90 per cent compared to conventional diesel. It can be used in existing heavy-duty and light-duty diesel engines without the need for engine modifications, new infrastructure or vehicle investment, thus making it a practical, cost-effective and proven way to help improve air quality.

As the world transitions to lower emission mobility, paraffinic fuels such as Shell’s GTL, offer a readily available solution to make a positive impact on air quality and local emissions today. Since April 2016, paraffinic fuels have been officially recognised under the EN15940 standard. There are three main types of paraffinic fuels: hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), gas-to-liquid (GTL) and biomass-to-liquid (BTL). Trials on Shell GTL have shown that NOx emissions can be reduced by up to 37% and PM by up to 90% with Shell GTL Fuel compared to conventional diesel.

As a premium fuel, paraffinic fuel may cost slightly more than conventional diesel, but nowhere near as much as introducing catalytic converters and upgrading entire fleets or infrastructure that may become obsolete in a few years. For now, alternative fuels like Shell GTL present the most sensible and economical way for fleets to reduce emissions.

The selecting of a cleaner burning fuel is not the only step that can be taken to improve efficiency and reduce a fleet’s environmental impact. Poor fuel efficiency, time consuming administration, bad driving habits and fuel card misuse are also all common causes of inefficient fleets that increases environmental impact.

The use of telematics in commercial vehicles has grown rapidly but the data will only help fleets become more efficient if analysed correctly. FuelTrace, a telematics solution from Certas Energy, uses GPS and mobile internet technology combined with onboard diagnostics to record information about a vehicle’s movements and performance, providing fleet managers with full visibility of their fleet, with support for fleet movements across Europe as standard.

By applying the latest developments in user interface thinking, FuelTrace provides users with an easy to use platform that drives improvements in staff performance, fuel efficiency and duty of care, while also preventing fuel card fraud. When it comes to fleet management, saving time and cost is essential to gaining a competitive edge and fuel makes up a significant proportion of annual spend. FuelTrace can help reduce fuel costs by up to 25% by monitoring speeding, idling and poor driving styles to improve safety and fuel efficiency. When used correctly, this invaluable data allows fleet managers to improve inefficiencies and get the most out of as little of possible, a powerful way of reducing fuel usage and emissions of an entire fleet of vehicles.

With over 90% of goods consumed in the UK delivered by road, the haulage industry is the life-blood of the UK and Certas Energy is committed to supporting a more sustainable future for an industry under increasing pressure to become greener.

For more information on Certas Energy and its products, such as Shell GTL Fuel and its telematics offering, FuelTrace, please visit our website.

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