15 Mar
A truly green car might be older than you think.

What does an eco-friendly fleet look like?

Ecological and environmental friendliness is likely playing on the mind of anyone in a motoring profession. You may be trying to decrease your impact on the environment by purchasing hybrid fuels through your fuel card instead of petrol, or perhaps you've been eyeing up one of the many eco-models that have been hitting the market recently.

But just what does a truly green fleet look like? Is it hybrid? Electric? What would have the most impact?

Old doesn't always mean worse.Old doesn't always mean worse.

Staying old is eco-gold

You might be surprised to find out that one of the most eco-friendly actions you can do is to hold on to your old clunker.

If all you are concerned about is eco-friendliness, you might be surprised to find out that one of the most eco-friendly actions you can do is to hold on to your old clunker. The theory is that the carbon emissions given off by manufacturing a new car is not sufficiently offset by the more efficient engine. New Zealand is well known for having a relatively old vehicle fleet, ranking above the US, Australia and Canada in terms of age according to the Ministry of Transport. In fact, the average age of our fleet is about 14 years old – positively ancient in motoring terms.

Perhaps this is due to the additional cost of importing so many popular cars (after all, the most popular new vehicle in New Zealand is a Japanese brand – the Toyota Corolla), but the relative age of our fleet could mean we have the most ecologically friendly motoring landscape, according to one of the UK's top environmentally-geared minds, Mike Berners-Lee.

According to Mr Berners-Lee, the ecological impact of purchasing a new car can be estimated by how much you spend on it. It is a very rough average, but the more you spend on the car, the greater the carbon footprint. This even applies to the more expensive electric and hybrid cars, due to the complex electronics involved in their manufacture.

Despite the fact that older cars generally emit more greenhouse gases than modern vehicles, making that Ford from 2001 last as long as you can before buying into a newer model could be the key to reducing the carbon footprint of your business.

Curtain close

However, there comes a point in every car's lifespan where it does need to be scrapped. Thankfully, recent data from the Ministry of Transport demonstrates that newer vehicles tend to last longer, as their scrappage rates are far lower compared to other cohorts.

In light of this data, when it does come to replacing a vehicle in your fleet, it might be better overall to buy for durability and ease of maintenance than for a lack of carbon emissions. Mending and making do could be better for the environment and for your budget.

Of course, if you want to get the best fuel deals for your older vehicles, you could do a lot worse than investigating a petrol card from us here at Fleet Card.