How To Approach — Not Avoid — the Sustainability Movement
By now, most of us are well aware of climate change and the emphasis it places on reducing our collective carbon footprint. The fact is: you can’t avoid the sustainability movement anymore. Some may view this as a burden on fleet operations, administrative work or budgets, but here’s some background information to prove that sustainability doesn’t have to be difficult.
Policies Make Cents
California’s clean air program, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, may be the most well-known, but similar regulations are in place or in development across North America and throughout the world. The speed at which these efforts are increasing means fleets and fuel marketers must pay attention and be ready to adapt.
Many believe electric vehicles (EVs) are the fastest way to reach these targets. However, EVs will not be viable for long-haul trucking for quite a while. In addition, the technology is expensive, requiring new vehicles and dedicated charging infrastructure (that may still be fueled by coal fired plants, thus mitigating the impact).
The good news is that there are many existing drop-in fuel solutions that can help fleets reach these targets in a quick and affordable way without sitting and waiting for electric. Biodiesel, renewable diesel and a blend of the two are expanding their reach and influence quickly as fleets and retailers realize their effectiveness at reducing emissions.
The better news is that some of these options are incentivized under the aforementioned policies. For example, Iowa retailers selling a B11 blend (that’s 11% biodiesel, 89% petroleum diesel) or higher are eligible for tax incentives totaling 8.5 cents per gallon. In Texas, a retailer can save up to 20 cents per gallon on the state fuel tax for selling B100. What’s more, retailers often pass part of the savings on to their customers to help attract them and do their part to reduce emissions.
Companies Hold Influence Too
The private sector is also starting to understand the importance of environmental stewardship, and companies are setting emission reduction goals of their own. Transportation plays a major role in supply chains and product delivery, and fleets provide a great opportunity for companies to demonstrate this commitment and make a difference immediately.
Companies know these improvements benefit their reputations in a world where consumers care more than ever about “green” efforts, which in turn benefits their bottom lines.
Many companies have created positions focused on this work, often with titles like “sustainability officer,” “manager of supply chain sustainability,” and the like. When fleets respond to RFPs, it’s crucial to tailor some details to this person and demonstrate the impact fuels have on their carbon footprint.
Options Lead to Opportunity
When fleets need to meet clean air regulations and win business with strong sustainability statistics, fuel options are critical. As noted above, biodiesel, renewable diesel and a blend of both are outstanding drop-in solutions for several reasons.
Biodiesel blends work in existing diesel vehicles without the need for major investments. Performance is strong, and the ability to reduce emissions is reliable and impressive. Biodiesel is made from a variety of sustainable feedstocks, which means it’s widely available. It can even be used alone (B100) with affordable vehicle modifications.
Renewable diesel is also good at reducing tailpipe emissions thanks to sustainable feedstocks. The supply largely ends up on the West Coast right now, but ongoing policy expansion will help drive its growth across a broader geography.
One of the most exciting options on the market is blending biodiesel and renewable diesel together. We call this Chevron Renewable Energy Group UltraClean Blend™ and it’s one of the lowest-carbon liquid fuels available. It’s the best of both worlds in terms of performance and emissions reduction, and blending in biodiesel can stretch the renewable diesel supply. Learn more about the combination in this white paper.
The Time Is Now
Getting onboard with sustainability doesn’t have to feel forced. Financial incentives, the opportunity to win new business, retain existing customers and the freedom of fuel choice should make you feel comfortable with — and actively interested in — the movement. If you have questions or are ready to make a fuel switch, please contact us today.
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