Friday, June 13, 2008

GE Boosts Efficiency for Fuel-Strapped Fleets

GE is taking smart advantage of the rising gas prices, unveiling an environmental service that will help businesses with auto fleets reduce their fuel costs and emissions, making businesses and the environment that much better. From GE’s ecomagination service comes Environmental Performance, telematics that baseline where and how each vehicle is performing, covering everything from driving routes to driver habits. The service can help businesses save as much as 15% in their annual fuel costs. Among mixed vehicle fleets, GE estimates their service can equate to a savings of 8%, meaning about 240 gallons of gas, or about $690, per vehicle each year. And among trucks, they estimate simple fixes like auxilary power units can reduce burning gas during idling by 75%, for a savings of about $3,000.

While it’s a fairly “duh” idea that driving better reduces costs and emissions, and we at EcoGeek have our own solutions to saving gas, it is nonetheless very helpful to have a techy device tell you just what changes to make. The metrics captured and analyzed include distance driven, fuel use, drive time, and CO2 emission of each vehicle. When analyzed, the data can help fleet managers streamline driving routes and driver habits, not only saving on fuel, but also saving time, improving customer service, increasing productivity, and even decreasing liability as the data can catch bad habits like speeding. They even help fleets choose the right vehicle for their business needs. And, beyond GE’s telemetrics unit, there are other cool devices and services that businesses can utilize that help drivers avoid traffic and save fuel and emissions.

This is a service that can be utilized regardless of gas prices, but businesses are likely to latch on as they feel the crunch – fuel represents 33% of a commercial fleet’s total costs, which is 11% higher than last year. GE is off to a good start, too. Already working with several dozen customers in 2007, their goal is to deploy 40,000 telemetric units this year, which can mean $26 million savings in fuel costs (based on $4 per gallon…which would be cheap gas in my neck of the woods) and 48,000 metric tons of CO2 reduction. By 2011, GE hopes to have 220,000 telemetric units out to customers, which could mean over $145 million in fuel cost savings, and 270,000 metric tons of CO2 reduction. In other words, helping customers drive efficiently will mean BIG numbers for businesses and air-breathers.

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