There are an estimated four million grey fleet cars in the UK – more than three times the number of company cars. Therefore, it is crucial to identify opportunities to reduce emissions and costs.
For many organisations, eliminating grey fleet will not be practical and for some employees and journeys, it will be the best option. However, it must be managed properly, and that requires a clearly communicated, well developed policy.
Many organisations spend a significant amount of money on reimbursing employees for mileage. Managing the grey fleet carefully can reduce those payments. Diligent management of the grey fleet, including accurate recording of mileage and expense claims, can also prove invaluable in the event of an HMRC audit.
However, the benefits are not all financial. The law is clear – an organisation has a legal duty of care to an employee, regardless of vehicle ownership. Grey fleet vehicles tend to be older and less well maintained, thus increasing the risk to your staff.
Benchmarking the grey fleet is a crucial first step toward creating a policy. A number of questions should be asked about the drivers and their vehicles, what journeys they are making, how much the journeys cost and what management controls are in place.
If obtaining this information proves too difficult, the record-keeping surrounding the grey fleet may be inadequate. At this stage, data collection procedures should be reviewed and new systems established, so that a more accurate picture of the grey fleet can be developed.
During the benchmarking process, you may find that the wrong people are in the wrong cars. For example, there may be grey fleet drivers doing more than 10,000 business miles a year and company car drivers doing fewer than 5,000. It may be necessary to conduct a review of the grey fleet as part of a wider fleet and travel policy review, and consider providing a salary sacrifice or company car for high-mileage drivers.