Car use

Pool cars

A pool car system could reduce the overall cost of providing vehicles to employees and is an opportunity to rent or buy low-emission vehicles.

Pool cars must meet the following conditions:

  • They must be used by more than one employee
  • They must not ordinarily be used by one employee to the exclusion of others
  • They must not normally be kept at or near employees’ homes
  • They must only be used for business journeys – private use is only permitted if it is merely incidental to a business journey (for example, commuting home with the car to allow an early start to a business journey the next morning.

Fuel efficient driving tips

As well as saving money and fuel, fuel efficient driving will help you to drive more safely and reduce wear and tear on components like tyres, clutch and gearbox. Let your employees know that they could save 15% off fuel costs by following these tips:

  • Shift to a higher gear as soon as possible. Driving at lower engine speeds reduces fuel consumption. Change up between 2,000 and 2,500rpm
  • Anticipate road conditions and drive more smoothly. Rather than last minute braking, decelerate smoothly by easing off on the throttle as early as possible. This allows the car to decelerate using engine braking. With the car in gear and the throttle released, a modern car uses virtually no fuel at all. This form of braking is also gentler on the car and its occupants
  • Maintain a steady speed in as high a gear as possible. Driving at a steady speed requires little effort for the engine. Avoiding unnecessary acceleration and heavy braking helps reduce your fuel consumption
  • Drive a little slower. Stick to the speed limits and make your fuel go further. For most cars the most efficient speed is 45-50mph. The faster you go above this, the more fuel you will use. Driving at 50mph rather than 70mph reduces your fuel consumption by 10%
  • Switch off if you’re stationary for more than a minute. When stuck in traffic or waiting for someone, switch off your engine. Switching off whenever it’s safe to do so can soon lead to significant savings
  • Keep your tyres properly inflated. Under-inflated tyres not only lead to poor road holding but also cause excessive drag and resistance, increasing fuel consumption. Both over and under-inflated tyres can be dangerous to road holding, so make sure your tyres are at their recommended pressure
  • Switch off air conditioning. Use air conditioning sparingly as your engine has to work harder to power the air conditioning machinery. If driving at low speed, open the window instead
  • Close your windows if travelling at 50mph or more. The aerodynamic drag on your car of an open window at speeds if 50mph or more adds to your fuel usage. Keep your windows closed at high speeds
  • Remove roof boxes and racks if not being used. Car designers try hard to make their vehicles as aerodynamic as possible. Adding a roof rack or box spoils this by increasing drag on your car, making your engine work harder and increasing fuel usage
  • Remove unnecessary items. Carrying excess weight in a vehicle increases fuel consumption, heavy or large items, such as tool kits and golf clubs should be removed when not required.

(Source: energy saving trust website)

You could offer defensive driving and environmental awareness training to all of your employees, starting with essential car users. In addition, you might consider installing econometers in your business and/or fleet vehicles. These provide instant feedback on fuel consumption and can reinforce good driver behaviour. This could be fed into a fuel efficiency league table scheme, giving the best drivers the chance to earn bonuses.