New report reveals extent of UK ‘grey fleet’

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A new report in the UK’s ‘grey fleet’ – the term used to describe employee’s own vehicles that are used for business purposes – reveals that it comprises up to 40% of all vehicles in the road, and costs employers more than £5.5bn a year in mileage claims and car allowances.

Getting To Grips With Grey Fleet, a new report produced by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) and commissioned by the British Vehicle Leasing and Rental Association (BVRLA), reveals that some 12 billion business miles are driven each year on Britain’s roads by employee-owned cars. In return for using their own car, employees are reimbursed on a pence per mile basis.

Apart from the significant reimbursement expense to employers, the report finds that the average grey fleet car is ‘exhausted’ – that is, older, more polluting and potentially more dangerous than its counterparts. It reveals that the average age of a grey fleet car is 8.2 years, and that the fourteen million such vehicles emit 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year, and 8,156 tonnes of NOx. Additionally it finds that the sector accounts for a significant portion of the £2.7bn costs associated with work-related road accidents, and over £5.5bn worth of potentially unmanaged costs from mileage claims and car allowances.

The BVRLA, the trade body for the rental and leasing of cars and commercial vehicles, says this “invisible” fleet is often overlooked, and that the system used for reimbursing grey fleet drivers provides no incentive to drive fewer business miles or use cleaner vehicles. The association is targeting a 50 per cent reduction in grey fleet mileage and costs by 2020. Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said: “Cutting grey fleet mileage by just 15 per cent would be the equivalent of taking 225,000 cars off the road in emissions terms.”

Andrew Benfield, EST’s Group Director of Transport, said that companies should introduce rigorous electronic mileage management systems to reduce ‘mileage inflation’ by employees claiming a mileage allowance, and remove the incentive to drive unnecessary business miles. “Car rental should be adopted for any work-related vehicle journey over 55 miles and a vehicle should be leased for employees driving at least 10,000 business miles per year. Employers should also incentivise alternatives to driving such as public transport, cycling and walking,” he advised.Main infographic