US fleet leaders cautiously optimistic about 2013

US company GreenRoad has presented a study on the state of the US transport industry. According to the Fleet Leader 2013 Outlook, 54 per cent of fleet leaders are ‘cautiously optimistic’ about 2013.

Published in December, the study states that 11 per cent are ‘very optimistic’, and nearly a third, 30 per cent, identify themselves as ‘neutral’ about the year ahead. Nearly all fleet leaders in the US, 70 per cent, think the price of fuel will ‘modestly’ rise in 2013, and the clear majority, 81 per cent, cite ‘reducing fleet fuel expenses’ as a significant or very significant fleet challenge.

The report recaps the opinions of US fleet leaders, representing fleets of all sizes from less than 25 vehicles to more than 1,000. According to GreenRoad, these fleet leaders manage a broad range of fleet types across various industries, from public transit and school buses, to government, utility, construction, private delivery, business services and white collar fleets.

“Although fleet leaders are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead, the underlying reasons for their outlooks vary. Less than half, 43 per cent, cite positive reasons for their outlook, while 47 per cent cite negative concerns,” according to GreenRoad.

“Most pressing concerns include the economy not recovering quickly enough or not at all; fuel costs remaining high or uncertainty around fuel costs; and limiting budget and resource constraints. Most positive reasons are related to anticipating new fleet technology implementations; adding new, fuel efficient vehicles to the fleet; seeing positive economic indicators; and having strong teams and well-trained drivers in-place.

“Overall we are encouraged by the optimism being expressed by fleet leaders,” said Tanya Roberts, senior vice president of marketing for GreenRoad. “However, they still see plenty of challenges ahead. Fleet leaders remain concerned about fuel costs and macro-economic uncertainties, and they are interested in new, energy-efficient vehicles and new fleet technology implementations, such as driver performance management, that can mitigate these rising costs.

“Fleet leaders are resilient. They are already looking ahead and making plans on how they will cope with ongoing cost pressures. Based on what we learned in this study, we expect many more fleets to turn to fuel-efficient or alternative fuel vehicles and other innovative technology solutions to counter rising operating expenses,” she added.

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