Driving Better for Business has released their review into the nation’s 14 million private vehicles (the so-called ‘Grey Fleet’) that are used for work-related travel. It looks into the associated risks and costs for organisations that operate a grey fleet. It was two years ago when a report first caused a stir by shining a light on what was costing more than £5.5 billion a year in mileage claims and car allowance payments, all the while harming the environment.
It was a study, written by the Energy Savings Trust on behalf of the British Vehicle and Rental Leasing Association (BVRLA), that revealed some serious home truths. The facts organisations learnt have already caused an industry-wide consideration into the risks of running a grey fleet.
Getting To Grips With Grey Fleet revealed that around 12.5 billion miles were being driven each year in the UK by 14 million grey fleet drivers.
It found that the private sector drove 11 billion grey fleet miles at a cost of around £5 billion. The public sector meanwhile had 1.5 billion grey fleet miles at a cost of around £786 million.
The amount of CO2 emitted by grey fleet vehicles in the public sector was enough to fill Wembley Stadium 56 times, while the CO2 emitted by the private sector grey fleet was equivalent to driving around the world 430,000 times.
Cost wasn’t the only issue.
The report found that grey fleet vehicles were much older than those leased, which meant they produced more emissions. Safety was another issue. 77% of leased cars had a five-star Euro NCAP crash test score compared with just 9% of grey fleet cars.
In the two years since the report’s release, some things have changed.
There’s been a rise in the number of businesses opting for the “car club” alternative and the results are impressive. The North Ayrshire Council has been operating this scheme for the past 18 months. It announced its achievement of a 37% reduction in CO2 emissions (9.1 tonnes annually). Aylesbury Vale Council has also saved £90,000 and halved their tailpipe emissions with a car club of just eight vehicles.
Not everything has changed, though.
Enterprise found in 2017 that many grey fleet drivers don’t always carry out basic safety checks. More than 43% of grey fleet drivers were found to not undertake any regular maintenance checks themselves. When asked why, 35% said they expected ‘the car to tell them if something was wrong’. 36% said ‘that’s what services and MOTs were for’ and 17% simply expected modern cars to work.
Is it time to scrap the grey fleet?
Stephen Briers, Editor-in-Chief of Fleet News says not necessarily. There is nothing “inherently wrong” with the grey fleet. Organisations must, however, manage them with the same scrutiny as a company car driver.
“There are plenty of examples where grey fleet happily co-exists with a company fleet. A successful policy usually requires a bit more stick than carrot: fail to provide the required information and a driver will not be reimbursed for business mileage. It’s simple, and it works.
“There is simply no excuse for companies to allow staff to drive around unchecked in their own vehicles. Introduce a strict policy to manage the car and the driver or introduce an alternative solution – either way, grey fleet should become much more black and white.”
Stephen Briers, Editor-in-Chief of Fleet News
Briers notes that this takes a large amount of admin time, knowledge and resource to do. Someone must take responsibility and it falls into the grey area between fleet managers and HR.
The DBfB review certainly leaves a lot for organisations to consider. If you would like any more information, visit Driving Better for Business’ report here.
If you’re concerned about your grey fleet or would like to discuss our management services, please get in touch. We are always happy to help.