The grey fleet is a ticking time bomb for many organisations. Many have little or no control over their grey fleet, those privately-owned vehicles used by employees while ‘at work’. And worst still, many grey fleets are larger than many assume, having grown as a result of eligible employees taking ‘cash’ rather than a company car. This was at a time when historically they were being taxed unfairly for a perk car. All that has long changed, especially with attractive BIK rates for low CO2 emission vehicles, of which there is now an abundant choice, but many employees have still stuck with cash. Such a scenario is all well and good, as long as the vehicles they drive are ‘fit for the purpose’, roadworthy, properly maintained, taxed and insured, which is not always the case!
The fact is that the grey fleet makes a fleet manager’s life far more difficult in meeting his or her organisation’s basic duty of care responsibilities, not to mention corporate social responsibilities (CSR), in terms of the environment.
So why do organisations still tolerate the grey fleet? Indeed, many responsible organisations are taking steps to encourage cash takers back into company cars and introducing attractive salary sacrifice car schemes, while others are engaging with professional fleet management companies to streamline checks and have proper audit trails in place. So what is the scale of the potential grey fleet problem? In the public sector alone, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) estimated that nearly 57 per cent of ‘at work’ mileage is covered by employees in privately-owned vehicles. That equates to around 1.4 billion miles a year covered by vehicles that do not necessarily comply with current law or are ‘fit for the purpose.’
For organisations, there are three main reasons for tackling grey fleet – health and safety, cost reduction and the environment.