How Telematics Can Help Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Lexi SackettMay 28, 2021

Every year, fleet managers are looking for innovative ways to cut back on fuel consumption and lessen the amounts of harmful emissions coming from vehicles. Sustainability is no longer an afterthought or extra benefit of certain actions. Rather, it’s a crucial part of operational strategy. 

More than ever, governments and organizations are acknowledging climate change, and calling for increased regulations and policies to combat the crisis immediately. As sustainability initiatives become top priority for fleets around the world, the demand for real-time telematics is simultaneously on the rise. Fleet managers have a huge opportunity here to make use of all the critical data their vehicles collect and identify gaps in management strategy – but how do they plan to do so?

What is telematics?

Telematics is a real-time, data collection technology that helps fleet managers to analyze a vast range of information across their vehicles. The technology helps to connect fleets of all sizes all on one platform, allowing managers to take in data including vehicle activity and location, driver behavior, engine diagnostics, and so much more. Having access to this data not only takes the guesswork out of making decisions but allows managers to observe issues as they are happening that they otherwise would not be able to.

One of the many ways that fleets can use this collected data to optimize their operations is due simply to the heightened level of awareness and communication. Without telematics, managers often rely on drivers to communicate vehicle issues, who could easily miss or fail to report a check engine light or similar reporting event. With telematics technology, managers can receive instant notifications when vehicles need maintenance, drivers have a speeding or safety incident, a vehicle is down or in need of assistance, and see to these issues immediately instead of letting time pass and worsen vehicle conditions.

green technology opportunities with telematics | Utilimarc blog

Identifying waste reduction opportunities using data

The ability to collect so much valuable data also allows data management teams to identify areas for improvement that could greatly reduce a fleet’s carbon footprint. Observations regarding waste reduction, fuel consumption and idling time can help managers identify where and how they can do better.

Fuel inefficiency and waste is one of the biggest problem areas in managing a fleet, and one of the costliest. Many driver behaviors can lead to greater fuel consumption that would be nearly impossible to detect if not for telematics technology. Harsh acceleration and speeding causes vehicles to burn more fuel, in addition to the obvious dangers of unsafe driving. 

Similarly, the time that a vehicle is idle adds up in great measure and can contribute greatly to fuel consumption and harmful gas emissions. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an idle heavy-duty truck can burn up to 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour. With a long-haul truck averaging 1,800 idle hours per year, this means 1,500 gallons of diesel along with thousands of dollars per truck are being flushed down the drain. 

The USDE also estimates that rest-period idling results in about 11 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, among other toxic pollutants, every year in the United States alone. It is clear how this driving behavior that seems small-scale and insignificant on a single-truck basis can quickly add up and contribute gravely to climate change and air pollution. Being able to identify these behaviors as areas for improvement allows managers to limit idling time, lower emissions and cut fuel consumption. 

Another way that fleet managers can benefit from digging into their data is by pinpointing the most optimal routes for their vehicles. Telematics is a key tool in helping fleets identify routes that could be more direct and reduce bottlenecks at job sites. The results speak for themselves, boosting fuel efficiency, saving drivers time and reducing carbon footprint overall. It even can help fleets looking at pursuing electric initiatives – as planning out optimal routes and charge station locations will be the key to a successful push for fleet electrification.

telematics data can create a lot of opportunities for sustainable initiatives. What are they? | Utilimarc blog

What does this mean for fleet managers?

This spotlight on sustainability is pushing managers to prioritize greener practices with more urgency than ever. Not only for their own company’s benefit, but because of rapidly rising social and political pressure. Many states are quickly adopting zero-emission initiatives and are enforcing stricter regulations with the aim of being carbon neutral in the upcoming decades. 

Whilst fleets could previously toy with the idea of implementing green technologies and cracking down on fuel consumption, managers can no longer afford this luxury. Reducing harmful emissions to slow climate change has become top priority, and telematics provides a large portion of the tools that can help us get there. 

Unfortunately, for fleets who are unequipped with the latest technologies this could mean having to budget for the major investment. Additionally, a team of data analysts will likely need to be hired, in order to take full advantage of the data being collecting. But, when considering an investment of this size – it’s important to take into consideration how you could be setting yourself up for future cost savings that could breakeven the expense. Also, when it comes to choosing your data team – you need to choose one that can give you an objective, broad spectrum view of your fleet’s data, whether in-house or out-sourced.

So, where do we go from here?

Ultimately, telematics is an incredibly valuable tool that fleets can use to reduce their carbon footprints, in addition to quickly noting several other inefficiencies and maintenance problems. With fleet managers already trying to figure out areas for improvement, it makes the most sense to employ this technology that does the heavy lifting for you while shedding light on trends and behaviors that could have never been noticed beforehand. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about telematics and the solutions that analyzing telematics data can provide, schedule a demo with a member of our analytics team today.


Lexi Sackett

Business Intelligence Manager

Lexi Sackett is a senior analyst at Utilimarc. She has grown with Utilimarc for the last five years – working closely with clients and specializing in telematics data analysis. See more from Lexi


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