We’ve all noticed the effects of climate change, more destructive weather events happening more often, the seasons seeming to change, ice caps melting.

The consensus seems to be that these changes could be catastrophic if not reversed, or at least halted, not necessarily for the planet – it will be around much longer than we are – but for humans and other animals to have a survivable habitat.

Atmospheric carbon reduction seems to be the key to preventing our environment becoming inhospitable to human life and, given that transport, especially road transport, is a major contributor to airborne carbon, our industry needs to be in the forefront of taking action to reduce carbon emissions. 

There are over 150,000 heavy vehicles in the national fleet with about 2500 new vehicles added each year plus many more used imports meaning that, with the best will in the world and despite the fact that older, less efficient vehicles are being scrapped, the fleet and its attendant emissions, is still growing.

There are four major options being discussed as ways to reduce carbon emissions

1; Biodiesel; currently available, can be used with (most) existing tech and gives a significant reduction in emissions.

2; EuroVI; Only available with modern European spec vehicles, requires after treatment of exhaust, very significant emissions reductions

3; EV; No tailpipe emissions, weight/payload penalty for extended range, suitable for short haul, round town delivery. Still emerging technology

4; Hydrogen; Clean tailpipe emissions, should have good range, may be expensive (cost to create fuel), may not save overall emissions unless renewable energy used to ‘crack’ hydrogen from water. Future technology


However, the key to deciding which, if any, of these of options is right for you requires you to have a comprehensive understanding of your fleet. You must understand and be managing your fleet before you can make valid decisions.

One way to look at any major decision regarding your fleet, such as upgrading or changing fuels, is to carry out a SWOT analysis. What are the Strengths of the proposal, what are the Weaknesses, what Opportunities will it open up, what are the Threats (risks) associated with the proposal? Once again, a successful SWOT analysis requires a detailed understanding of your fleet and its efficiency.