Is Your Grey Fleet Affecting Your Businesses Sustainability Goals?

18th May 2022

Outlining the effects of grey fleet

The fleet trade and training body reports there is a growing gap between the rapid electrification of company car schemes and employee’s own vehicles. It discusses the possibility that fleets might need to take greater control over their grey fleet vehicles in order to achieve their companies’ environmental aims.

Paul Hollick, chair of the AFP Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP), commented: “It may be inevitable that fleets have to use more rental and pool cars as a substitute for grey fleet in order to ensure that only low and zero emissions vehicles are used on company business. It may be that, over time, you have to set standards so that only vehicles that meet ever more stringent emissions targets are used as part of your grey fleet operations.”

The grey fleet can be a vital part of the overall transport solutions for many businesses. While it can bring many benefits, allowing employees to use their own vehicles for business purposes, it also makes meeting your fleet management responsibilities increasingly complex.

For example, it can be difficult to track the mileage employees use on business journeys. Then there is also general vehicle maintenance to deal with. This can also be more difficult to manage on a grey fleet, particularly given that personal vehicles are often older and in worse condition than company vehicles. There is also the duty of care to consider, which can be neglected if older, poorly maintained cars are being used.

All of these factors can also result in a grey fleet that is unlikely to be made up of newer, low emission or electric vehicles, potentially going against a company's aim for a greener fleet and more sustainable business.

What is Grey Fleet?

‘Grey fleet’ is the term that describes the use of personal vehicles for business purposes. Rather than belonging to the company, the vehicles are owned by the employees themselves and are used regularly for business travel. That can include vehicles that are privately owned by the employee, rented privately or bought through an employee ownership scheme. These vehicles fall under the responsibility of the employer and become part of the grey fleet.

Action you can take

From a legal perspective, an organisation has a duty of care to an employee, regardless of vehicle ownership, so the grey fleet needs to be managed as company-owned or leased vehicles.

Our advice to companies is to ask the following questions when reviewing their grey fleet vehicles:

  • Is the vehicle roadworthy and appropriate for business use?
  • Is there evidence of service records and a vehicle health check, demonstrating points such as the tyre tread depth are legal?
  • What is the age of your grey fleet vehicles, and are the CO2 emissions inline with your company's environmental goals?
  • Does the driver have a valid licence which has been confirmed with the DVLA?
  • Is the driver fit to drive?
  • Does the driver have extra insurance cover to include business trips?
  • Do your employees have access to help and advice for their vehicles?

To combat the potential issues raised by a grey fleet, employers could consider alternatives to employee’s using their own vehicles or offering assistance and employee benefit packages that help employees with their next new car. This would help to save both money and environment-damaging emissions. These alternatives could include:

  • Short and long-term vehicle Rental Solutions
  • Flexible company car or pool car funding options
  • Online fleet management through FleetData
  • Risk Management solutions
  • Electric/Hybrid Focused Salary Sacrifice Schemes
  • Personal Lease affinity schemes
  • Fuel card options

Our team of experts has a wealth of experience within providing solutions to the problem of grey fleet vehicles, and can offer advice as part of our Fleet Management portfolio. For example, our risk management solution includes driver licence checking, online driver assessment and online driver training, all of which will help proactively identify risks in both your leased/purchased fleet or employee grey fleet.