A faster way to making your fleet greener and increase fuel savings

There are many reasons to share equipment—to reduce taxpayer costs, improve services, and increase efficiencies. But sharing heavy equipment between fleets might also be the faster way to building a newer, more advanced and efficient inventory of equipment (something that has its own list of benefits).

Which fleet manager would you want to be?

City A(lone) doesn’t share equipment. Most of their heavy equipment sits for 15 to 20 years. Like many municipalities, an unhealthy percentage of their fleet is also underutilized, making the cost of maintenance and repair high in proportion to miles/hours used. By the time City A’s department head can justify replacing this equipment, it’s 20 years behind the newer, more-efficient technology. Not only have they been trundling along for years with old, slow, inefficient equipment, but now it’s so old they can’t even sell it.

City S(hare) has equipment sharing agreements with several other municipalities in their county. They’ve eliminated a few of their underutilized pieces of heavy equipment because they can now borrow them the two times they need them each year. At the same time, City S rents out their own equipment to neighbors in need. Instead of sitting idle, their equipment now sees a much higher utilization rate. More hours and miles each year means City S has equipment reaching its max utilization hours much sooner. When the department head asks the fleet manager to replace equipment:

  1. The outgoing equipment is still relatively new, with more up-to-date technology than City A’s departing equipment.
  2. The equipment has depreciated less than City A’s 20-year-old pieces.
  3. Thus, City S can sell off their equipment at a higher price.
  4. They get to purchase new equipment that’s more efficient.
  5. And the cycle repeats. (And it repeats much more often for City S than City A.)

In short, the more City S shares, the faster they can replace equipment. They’re never working with obsolete equipment. All in all, the cycle ensures that City S (and their collaborators) are continually using the newer, more advanced equipment.

All of this, actually, could be called the Jevons paradox. This is the economic theory that as technology progresses, resources can be used more efficiently, and as a result, the rate of consumption actually increases (rather than decreasing). That’s good news for manufacturers such as John Deere and Caterpillar--both for sales and for the development of new technology. And it enables municipalities to achieve a great efficiency and maintain a better fleet. It’s a win-win for the equipment industry, local governments, taxpayers, and for the folks driving the equipment.

For more information on some of the other benefits and the how-tos of sharing equipment, check out:

What is Collaborative Government?

Saving Millions with Collaborative Government