Survey: Almost half of online shoppers would opt for a parcel service with electric vehicles

According to a survey by New Hampshire-based fleet management company Merchants Fleet, nearly half of American consumers say they would prefer one e-commerce parcel delivery service to another if they used electric vehicles (EVs) instead of gas-powered vans.

The stat comes as 55% of US shoppers plan to buy more goods online this holiday season than last year, despite the challenges of rising inflation and a volatile stock market.

But even as they pull out their credit cards, consumers say they are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of parcel delivery. According to Merchants Fleet, more than 70% of consumers have considered the environmental impact of parcel delivery, and nearly 60% said the environmental impact was at least partially factored into their decision to send parcels.

Academic studies have shown that online shopping can be a dirty habit, causing CO2 emissions from both the huge vehicles that transport import containers around the globe and the small vans that deliver orders to homes. One of the worst offenders in this process is next-day delivery and other express services, as hauliers often transport these boxes in partially empty trucks to meet tight deadlines, rather than waiting for the trucks to be fully packed for maximum efficiency every gallon of gas they burn.

When looking for a solution, more than half (54%) said they would like delivery fleets to switch from gas-powered vehicles to electric vehicles. And according to the survey, consumers are ready to put their money in their hands – 48% would choose one parcel service over another if they knew only one would deliver with electric vehicles, and 56% would consider buying more online if you would know your packages would be delivered by an electric vehicle.

Despite the promise of using low-emission electric vehicles, the industry still has a long way to go before they replace traditional cars and trucks.

“We expect the fleets we manage to deliver more than 90,000 packages per day in an electric vehicle during the peak holiday season,” said John Cail, senior vice president of mobility at Merchants Fleet, in a press release. “While notable, it’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the 5 million delivered daily by internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE). There is still work to be done to meet consumer demand for environmentally friendly shipping. While many fleets are just beginning their EV journey, this is a clear indication that it’s time to put in place an EV adoption plan.”

Merchants Fleet says it is the fourth largest provider of fleet management services nationally, with over 175,000 commercial fleet units under management across North America. The private-equity-backed company says it is moving toward electrification of commercial fleets, citing its existing reservations for 40,000 electric vehicles, representing a $2.5 billion investment.

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