Fleet News

Alternative fuels bring call for card firms to expand networks

THE increasing use of alternative fuels by fleets will soon force fuel card companies to expand their networks to cater for demand, according to Fleet Cost Management. Speaking following news that parcel delivery giant DHL was planning to convert its 900-strong diesel van fleet to run on liquefied petroleum gas executive director John Britcliffe said networks would have to grow in order to include gas stations.

He said: 'While there have been a few LPG and compressed natural gas vehicles in the fleet industry for some years, they have never really been very widespread in use. Also, most of them tended to be operated on a local basis, so there was no need for a large refuelling infrastructure.

'That now looks as though it could change fairly rapidly thanks to Government determination to cut the environmental impact of all vehicles. Some motor manufacturers are predicting a 20% penetration of gas vehicles within five years. That will mean refuelling points must be opened right across the UK. For companies such as ourselves which provide fuel cards, it will mean a rapid expansion of our infrastructure. There are 10,000 fuel outlets in the network we use and this number would have to rise to include gas stations.'

He said initial signs were that gas vehicles would not be refuelled at existing filling stations, although Shell has announced that it plans to be operating a handful of forecourt-based LPG pumps in London within the next six months.

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