Fleet News

Fleet and fuel costs: top priority for 2000

THE importance of fleet and fuel cost control dwarfs all other issues facing fleet decision-makers in 2000. A Fleet News/Kwik-Fit Fleet Survey of 268 fleet managers rated the seriousness of 'keeping fuel prices and overall fleet costs down' at 9.2, out of a maximum 10.

This was reinforced by the high importance (7.6) given to falling residual values, and the new Vehicle Excise Duty system (7.4) scheduled for this autumn. Simon Roper, managing director of Kwik-Fit Fleet, said: 'It comes as no surprise. Our principal focus in dealing with our customers is to provide them with as many tools as possible to enable them to control their costs, while maintaining maximum efficiency.'

Other inflationary issues featured significantly lower, with workplace parking charges (5.8) and road tolls (4.9) awarded much lower importance ratings. Interestingly, in the previous Fleet News survey, fleet managers identified congestion charging and office parking levies as the second and third most important issues. Fleet managers singled out the future shape of company car tax as the most pressing issue of 1999, and the uncertainty has continued to this year's survey - the fifth Fleet News New Year Survey - which awarded a high importance rating (7.6) to the new benefit-in -kind tax regime scheduled to be unveiled in the March Budget.

The requirement to provide a PCP/cash alternative to the car, however, appears to be an altogether lower priority (5.6), reflecting the lower likelihood that drivers would opt out of their company cars if their tax bills rise (5.3). As a result, the importance of companies establishing fleet choice lists that take into account cars' carbon dioxide emissions achieved a rating of just 5.3. This modest prioritisation of environmental issues tallies with the low score given to the introduction of gas-powered vehicles (3.0), despite the higher importance of local authorities creating zero emission zones (4.7).

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