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Emissions, Our Struggle to Save the Environment

  • By Ryan Skidmore

“Reduce emissions,” they say. This sound bite doesn’t give us much to work with, so the question remains. Why do all of us need to reduce carbon emissions?

Carbon Footprint.

The Webster’s definition of carbon footprint is “the amount of greenhouse gases and specifically carbon dioxide emitted by something (as a person’s activities or a product’s manufacture and transport) during a given period”.1¬†All the things we all do that emit carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases from pressing down on the gas pedal, to buying a product with lots of extra packaging are summarized as a carbon footprint. Doing less of these activities reduces the carbon footprint and thus reduces emissions. There are also activities, like planting trees and recycling, which reduce carbon footprint. More important than individuals’ carbon footprints is communities’ carbon footprints. These larger carbon footprints can be broken down into emissions from making materials, producing energy, and transportation.2 As a business owner with a fleet or someone managing a fleet, transportation is your forte. Plus, businesses like yours are a core part of the community, providing jobs and services for residents to grow and thrive. So now to answer the big question. Why reduce? Not reducing carbon emissions will lead to more extreme weather that disrupts human and most other life on earth in numerous and varied ways that are not all as obvious as rising ocean level or warmer global temperatures.3

Every Little Bit.

Businesses can reduce carbon emissions more than a single person because the choices they make apply to more units, like a fleet of vehicles, for more years than a private person. Those in charge of a business have a responsibility to reduce emissions when they can. Fortunately, new technology empowers those in charge of taking responsibility to make changes easier than ever before. In the past, technologies like GPS tracking and fleet management were only available to large businesses with large budgets, a large staff, and a large pool of resources. How does technology reduce emissions? Optimizing routes reduces fuel consumption. Reducing the time a driver idles at a location also reduces fuel consumption, which in the past would be considered waste of fuel. Eliminating driver behaviors like speeding, hard acceleration, and harsh braking not only saves gas, but makes drivers safer. Optimizing routes reveals how many vehicles are actually needed to serve customers. Fewer vehicles operating means less fuel and less maintenance. The business practicality of making these changes goes far beyond just being able to say that your business has gone green, but also saves money in the short term by reducing the amount of fuel needed to perform tasks. In the long run, these changes save money by making processes more efficient.

The phrase “reduce emissions”¬†means little to most people, but business owners and fleet professionals must know what this means because their choices have much more impact than the average person. Fleet management is a big first step towards reducing emissions, and making your fleet operations more efficient and environmentally friendly. Let’s all go a little greener!


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