Being Green: Show Me the Money

Being Green: Show Me the Money

April 20, 2012

I remember when the packaging industry started wrestling with waste. The cry (not necessarily from consumers) for less waste in packaging caused consumer-products manufacturers to change to plastic containers and cardboard backers that could be easily recycled. I can’t remember if it was mandated (sound familiar?), but the move was on.

The new product packages hit the shelves, and there was less waste. Packages were smaller, compact and readily tossed when the product was removed. This was pre-1982, so consumers could still open the packaging without using a Sawzall.

But consumers also noted that the products cost more to buy, and they cried foul. Seems manufacturers were passing the cost of being green on to the buyers. They had to retool their packaging lines and use more “recycled” content in said packages. In subsequent polls, consumers overwhelming said “no” when asked if it was worth the extra cost to have “green” packaging.

Equipment buyers face similar situations today. In fact, GM’s announcement that it’s bi-fuel pickups would carry an $11,000 premium has already generated some negative comments.

Today, natural gas holds great promise as an alternative fuel. If fracking doesn’t become over-regulated, production should allow for continued low prices. If not, owners of CNG vehicles will have a more costly operating cost.

We’re talking about costly, capital-intensive investments in machinery that should last several years. Making the right call today affects your fleet’s ability to perform in a cost-effective way tomorrow.

If you’re looking at alternative-fueled vehicles, whether it’s a bi-fuel pickup, CNG truck, a hybrid excavator or even an electric drive dozer, what financial implications are you considering?

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