MarketLine claims that by 2005, 40% of all fuel purchases in the European Union will be made on fuel cards. This compares to the current 31%. The report says almost half the cards in circulation in 2005 will be pan-European - up from 5.7 million now to 8.7 million - and many card companies are looking to expand their fuel card operations into Spain, Greece, Turkey and on into north Africa and the East.
Already in the UK almost half of the fuel cards on offer give pan-European coverage. Of the 2.33 million cards in circulation in this country, 966,000 give European coverage (42%) while 1.334 million (58%) are domestic only. But the UK still has much catching up to do to reach Germany's levels where there are less cards in circulation at two million, but of these 1.4 million (70%) are pan-European.
Britain is, however, well ahead of Portugal which has a circulation of 150,000 fuel cards, but only 27,000 (18%) are Euro-friendly. By far the biggest user of fuel cards is Sweden with 3.9 million in circulation - almost twice the level of its nearest German and UK rivals - of these cards 1.56 million (40%) can be used throughout Europe.