Research has shown that the threat of the £1 for a litre of diesel or unleaded is tempting more drivers to try to hide private fuel costs in company fuel bills.
An increasing number of fleets are raising concerns that their costs are going up because of fuel fraud and they are looking for solutions to combat the problem.
The warning, from fleet technology experts cfc solutions, came as the AA revealed that prices at garages and supermarkets are steadily rising, with unleaded up 1.5p a litre (6.8p a gallon) and diesel up by 1.7p a litre (7.7p a gallon).
This rise is part of an ongoing increase which has been caused by a crude oil price increase of 38% since January.
Cfc solutions sales and marketing director Andy Leech said: ‘We have had an increasing number of fleets coming to us over the last couple of weeks citing an increasing amount of fuel fraud.
The fleets which are hardest hit by this trend are almost all operating a pay-and-reclaim system, which makes the tracking of fuel fraud very difficult.
Leech explained: ‘When fleets come to us and ask us how to tackle fuel fraud, our first piece of advice is to tell them to abandon receipt-and-reclaim and switch to fuel cards. It immediately makes committing fraud much more difficult.’
Leech added that the most common pay and reclaim abuses seen involved drivers filling up their wife, husband or partner’s car at company expense or adding items such as newspapers and sweets – and even barbecue charcoal – to fuel claims.
He explained: ‘If you are using receipt-and-reclaim, you can be pretty sure that somebody in your company is stealing fuel – and that as pump prices rise, more of your drivers will be tempted.’
Thousands of fleets are currently examining their fuel provision after a court case stated that fleets using pay and reclaim would not be able to reclaim VAT on the cost of fuel if the purchase was made by an individual, rather than a VAT registered company.