How to Reduce Your Fleet’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

April 30, 2021

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Key Takeaways

Learn how the City of Sacramento leverages Samsara to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, and achieve their sustainability goals.

It’s no secret that global greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), global carbon emissions from fossil fuels have increased 90% since 1970. With more than 28% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States coming from transportation, it’s becoming increasingly important for fleets to evaluate more sustainable strategies to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. 

One of the best ways for modern fleets to take action on their carbon footprint and energy use is to adopt electric vehicles (EVs). With EV’s and fuel efficiency at the center of climate policy in the United States in recent years, fleet electrification has become an increasingly popular practice among public and private fleets alike. 

What are greenhouse gas emissions? 

Simply put, greenhouse gases (GHG) trap heat and make the planet’s surface warmer. The most common GHGs are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, all of which contribute to the greenhouse warming effect (also known as global warming or climate change). 

The largest source U.S. greenhouse gas emissions comes from burning fossil fuels for electricity generation and heat, as well as transportation. According to the EPA, more than 90% of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum based, which primarily includes diesel,  gasoline, and natural gas. 

What is biomass and how does it help reduce greenhouse gas emissions? 

Biomass is renewable organic material that comes from plants. Examples include: wood, discarded crops, seaweed, and animal waste. When sourced sustainably, biomass does not contribute to deforestation and can even help reduce landfill and food waste. Different from traditional fossil fuels which contribute to global warming by releasing carbon into the atmosphere, biomass contributes zero carbon emissions when burned for fuel.  

2 ways fleets can reduce greenhouse gas emissions 

In general, electric vehicles produce far fewer greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide emissions than traditional gasoline fueled vehicles. But, electric vehicles aren’t the only way fleets can lower their greenhouse gas emissions. Read on to learn two ways you can help your fleet consume less energy and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases you consume. 

1. Adopt electric vehicles  

If your main goal is to reduce direct emissions, adopting electric vehicles is a great way to start. When compared to traditional vehicles, electric vehicles produce about a quarter the number of pounds of carbon dioxide per year, even when the fuel comes from fossil fuel power plants. For example, a traditional gasoline vehicle in New York would need to achieve 281 miles per gallon to have the same net emissions as an electric vehicle.  

Although electric vehicles produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, it’s worth noting that only 10% of electric vehicles are powered by renewable energy and renewable energy sources. While electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions, only EVs that run on 100% renewable energy can be classified as zero emissions vehicles. 

LEARN MORE: Why More Fleets are Adopting Electric Vehicle Technology 

2. Reduce fuel waste and improve energy efficiency with telematics 

Aside from electrifying your fleet, one of the best strategies for greenhouse gas mitigation is to focus on fuel and energy efficiency. With a telematics solution in place, your fleet can take action on two of the biggest fuel wasting behaviors: idling and harsh driving events. 

Common driver habits like acceleration, deceleration, coasting, cruising, and more can have a major impact on your fuel efficiency—and your carbon emissions. These driving habits, though seemingly inconsequential, can in aggregate have a significant impact on your overall carbon footprint.

Telematics tools such as Samsara’s Fuel & Energy Reports and Idling Alerts can help you better understand fuel usage trends across your fleet. You can then determine problem areas and set goals based on what will have the biggest impact on your greenhouse gas emissions.

LEARN MORE: 5 Ways to Improve the Fuel Efficiency of Your Fleet 

How the City of Sacramento reaches their sustainability goals with Samsara’s electric vehicle fleet solutions 

Curious to learn how a visionary public fleet is taking action on their carbon emissions? Read on to see how the City of Sacramento is leveraging Samsara to build a more energy efficient fleet.  


Instituted in 2007, the City of Sacramento’s fleet sustainability plan aims to improve the City of Sacramento’s regional air quality by focusing on six key areas: 

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions 

  • Acquiring low-emission and zero-emission vehicles 

  • Reducing fuel consumption 

  • Improving vehicle operational efficiency 

  • Improving cost-effectiveness 

  • Enhancing monitoring and reporting

In order to reach their ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, the City’s Fleet Division needed a telematics system with features for electric vehicle (EV) fleet management and fuel efficiency reporting.


With Samsara, the Fleet Department now has reliable data and insights into the total cost of ownership for their traditional gasoline vehicles. This data, along with the Fleet Electrification Report, allow the division to assess which of their vehicles are good candidates to transition to EVs. In addition to gaining visibility into their EVs, the Fleet Department can now drill down into fuel use, energy efficiency, and idling across their fleet. 

With Samsara Idle and Fuel Reports, fleet manager Mark Stevens can use data to encourage other departments to be more fuel and energy efficient to reach their emissions reduction goals. “Now, I’m able to show our police department, for example, that they’re idling over our limit and work with them to get their idling times down,” said Stevens. “Samsara’s platform gives us complete visibility into our fleet, so we can make data-driven decisions about our operations.”

READ THE FULL CASE STUDY: City of Sacramento 

Learn more about Samsara’s electric vehicle fleet management features 

EVs are projected to account for 10% of the light-duty vehicle market in just ten years. As the air pollution caused by driving traditional gasoline vehicles becomes a more pressing concern, EVs offer both consumers and organizations an alternative for a cleaner, low-emissions future. Learn how to build your future EV fleet with Samsara as your trusted partner, or sign up for a free trial

DOWNLOAD THE E-BOOK: How to Build Your Electrification Strategy