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Energy program targets business vehicle fleets

The Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin today congratulated eight Queensland companies that have agreed to participate in the pilot of a new program to cut energy use in business vehicles.

"The Fleet First - driving change program will help fleet managers cut their fuel use by up to 20 per cent, resulting in lower costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions," Senator Minchin said.

Australian champion racing car driver Dick Johnson today joined 60 Queensland fleet managers and drivers to launch the Fleet First - driving change program by waving off drivers at a ceremony at Brisbane's RNA Exhibition Complex.

Mr Johnson, a former three-time Bathurst 1000 winner and five-times Australian Touring Car champion, is an advocate for environmental initiatives and driver education in the industry.

The pilot program, an initiative of the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science and Resources supported by the Australasian Fleet Managers' Association, will be implemented over the next year.

Senator Minchin said it is important to achieve emission reduction in the transport industry.

"The Fleet First initiative is a practical way that government and business can work together to reduce the impact of cars on the environment," Senator Minchin said. "About 1.3 million cars and light commercial vehicles are used for business in Australia. They contribute 12.6 million tonnes of CO2 a year.

"Vehicle fleet operators range from small businesses with one or two vehicles to large fleet operators managing 60,000 cars.

"By joining Fleet First these managers will receive information about how to benchmark performance, reduce fuel use, and cut fuel and maintenance costs.

"Fleet First will help businesses improve their competitiveness in the long term, while helping Australia meet its commitment to constrain its greenhouse gas emissions.

"The eight Queensland fleet organisations participating in this program have shown commendable leadership in committing to these initiatives," Senator Minchin said.

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM

Under Fleet First, fleet managers join the program as Bronze, Silver or Gold members, providing them with different levels of information and benefits.

> Fleet First provides technical information, best practice guides and access to a benchmarking database. Some of the topics covered include:

> Fleet management structure - managing fuel use, fuel supply and scheduling of the fleet.

> Vehicle selection - making sure you get the most fuel-economic vehicle, most suited to the task it will perform.

> Driver practices - encouraging staff to drive more safely and fuel efficiently through use of training courses, rewards and penalties,

> Monitoring and benchmarking - setting up procedures to create benchmarks, monitor fuel consumption, monitor maintenance and accidents, and to review progress.

FLEET INDUSTRY FACTS

> Fleet vehicles in Australia drive about 47,000 million kilometres per year, at an average fuel efficiency of around 11 litres per 100 km.

> Annual fuel consumption for business fleets totals 5,170 million litres a year.

> A saving of between 10 to 20 per cent means Fleet First could cut fuel by 517 to 1,034 million litres a year.

> If the Fleet First strategy was taken up by 25 per cent of the fleet market and achieved a 15% improvement in fuel /fleet efficiency - this would be the equivalent of saving 472,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum or removing 117,500 vehicles from the road.

Further enquiries can be made via www.australia.org.nz

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