Fleet News

Stop further fuel price hikes, Government warned

PRESSURE is growing this week for the Government to tackle rising fuel prices that are forcing fleets to rewrite their budgets.

The psychological 'break-point' of more than 80 pence per litre has been passed and the industry is worried it could spark the return of the fuel protests of 2000.

Clive Forsythe, managing director of Arval PHH's Business Customer Division, said: 'The recent sharp hike in the cost of crude oil has received a lot of attention and is the main driving force behind the current rise in forecourt prices. The fact that the price of unleaded fuel has now passed 80 pence per litre, however, is sure to cause renewed concern.

'This level has often been seen as a psychological 'break-point' for motorists and companies alike. The onus is now on the Government to rethink the very high level of fuel duties in this country, not to mention the planned tax increase due to come into effect in September.'

Figures compiled by the company on fuel prices over the past five years show that in January 1999 the average cost of diesel was 64.27ppl and for unleaded 64.03ppl. For April this year, the cost was 79.84ppl for diesel and 78.51ppl for unleaded fuel.

Earlier this month, fleets were encouraged to start stipulating to their drivers where they can fill up with fuel.

Castle Fuel Cards executives estimate that by opting for the more expensive stations an average fleet of 500 vehicles could be spending an extra £50,000 every year (Fleet News, May 13).

In response to rising fuel costs, head of fuel Teresa Maynard said: 'We will see a lot more focus on where drivers buy, determined on price.

'Fleet drivers still have to complete the same mileage so the only way to mitigate a severe impact is to buy as cheaply as possible.'

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