Fuel efficiency

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and pollutant emissions from our fleet of cars, vans, lorries, lifeboats and rescue watercraft all contribute to climate change and air pollution and we have a part to play in reducing them.

A view from a bridge of a Mersey class lifeboat on a blue and white HGV, in transit along a motorway running through a lush green valley.

RNLI/Nigel Millard

Mersey class relief lifeboat, Lifetime Care 12-11, being transported by road to Leverburgh in the Western Isles

We’ve achieved Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) compliance in the UK and Statutory Instrument 426 (SI 426) compliance in Ireland by measuring and assessing our vehicle, lifeboat and rescue water craft fuel use and identifying opportunities for improvement. 

Fuel for lifeboats, rescue watercraft and vehicles accounts for around 57% of our total energy use, with the other 43% being gas and electricity to power our buildings and equipment.

We’ve set an ambition to be a 'zero carbon from road transport' organisation by 2040. Fuel use forms part of our Scope 1 direct Greenhouse Gas emissions. This means that, by 2040, none of our company cars or logistics vehicles will be powered by fossil fuels and they will, when in use, create zero carbon emissions. We will not use core funds to buy offsets to achieve this. 

RNLI company vehicles are already selected to have low CO2 emissions and we use an electric vehicle for the warehouse at our Support Centre in Poole, Dorset.

To coincide with our vehicle fleet contract with Ford, we’ve installed telematic systems in some of our fleet vehicles. This data will enable us to gain a better understanding of journey patterns, refuelling needs and help us to plan our transition to an electric fleet of road vehicles. In addition, we’re actively seeking opportunities to improve fuel efficiency and source lower-carbon fuels for our other vehicles.

Smarter driving

As well as more efficient engines and cleaner fuels to help reduce our environmental impact, we’re also trying to influence driving behaviour among our people.

Our driver policies encourage appropriate and safe driving and good logistics planning for efficient deliveries.

A landscape portrait of a white lifeguard with short blonde hair standing next to a red lifeguard bicycle on a promenade. The lifeguard is wearing lifeguard kit of red shorts, a red waterproof jacket and red baseball cap. The bike is beside them, leaning against a concrete wall with a calm sea in the background and cloudy white sky.

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Promoting sustainable travel

To encourage more sustainable travel to and from work, we offer the following incentives to our staff:

  • Cycle to Work scheme, to help with buying a bike or electric bike for travelling to work.

  • Season ticket interest-free loan to help with the cost of public transport.

  • Car Share scheme to encourage people at our Support Centre in Poole to travel together and help reduce the number of vehicles on the road. We also encourage all our people across the RNLI to car share where possible.

Efficient lifeboats

Our lifeboats are designed to be efficient as well as fast. This will continue to be a key design feature. 

We’re also monitoring future marine propulsion and engine developments. This is to enable us to eventually move away from fossil fuels to a low- or zero-carbon alternative, as part of our Zero Carbon 2050 ambition. 

When our lifeboats and crew are out on a shout, speed is crucial to reaching people as quickly as possible and saving lives. At other times – such as training or moving lifeboats from one location to another – speed is kept lower to minimise fuel use.

We’ll continue to look for and implement ways of improving our fuel efficiency to deliver both carbon reductions and financial savings where it’s practical, cost-effective and doesn’t compromise our ability to save lives.