Fleet News

Suppliers braced for free fuel enquiries

FLEET suppliers are expecting a flood of enquiries from companies looking for help in gauging the effect of the proposed new fuel scale charge system.

Fuel card giant ARVAL PHH is briefing its on-the-road sales staff on the details of the new carbon dioxide-based system, and is immediately working to ensure its systems are developed to cope with the launch of the new tax.

Danny Clenaghan, managing director of AllStar Fuel and Business Solutions, said: 'In theory, the Government has said it will reduce administration for fleets.

'However, fleet managers will be looking for help on how they can explain this system to their drivers.

'I think it makes it more difficult to work out whether receiving free fuel for private mileage is actually a benefit and it is our job to help make it clear.

'Clearly this is one of the benefits of having a fuel card, because this is a valuable way of monitoring fuel use and explaining to drivers whether they should actually be paying for their private fuel.'

Beverley Wise, UK director of client services for LeasePlan, said: 'Although intended to be revenue neutral, like the company car tax system, there are going to be winners and losers.'

Fleet software companies are already working on adapting their systems to provide automatic calculation of fuel scale charge benefits for drivers.

Stuart McCall, head of operations for Focis Fleet Management, said: 'The day after the Budget announcement we had 10 or 11 calls from companies wanting us to go and see them.

'Their worry is driven by fear, mainly because they feel the amount of administration involved in running company cars is now beyond a joke.'

However, taking a calm approach to the system would reveal it is relatively straightforward, according to Stewart Whyte, managing director of Fleet Audits, who said company car drivers and fleet managers should already know what percentage their cars will be taxed at through the company car tax system.

All they need, therefore, is the gross fuel charge (which will be announced each tax year) and the calculation is straightforward.

He said: 'The average driver will probably see a 10% to 12% increase, although there are winners and losers. If you take the right approach, it is very simple.'

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