Fleet News

Fuel prices and tolls head fleet concerns

HIGH fuel prices and the impact of road charging schemes dominate the biggest concerns facing UK finance directors today, a new survey has shown.

The leasing company behind the survey suggests that a company running 100 Audi A4 1.9-litre TDi diesel models, each covering 15,000 business miles a year, is now paying about £10,000 a year more for fuel than it was 12 months ago.

The results come from LeasePlan quizzing 150 finance directors at some of the UK’s biggest companies on the type of issues that worry them most in terms of running their car and van fleet.

Managing director Kevin McNally, said: ‘Over the past year global oil prices have risen by about 30% and petrol prices have shot up as well. This is due to a variety of reasons, including increasing demand from countries with developing industry and a series of natural disasters.

‘It’s wrong to think that only the haulage industry is affected by higher road fuel costs. In fact, most businesses run a vehicle fleet of some sort, with employees using company cars or vans, so the UK economy as a whole is feeling the pinch.’

McNally suggests that by adopting a sensible fuel management policy fleets could save thousands of pounds a year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The LeasePlan study also found that more companies are growing wary of the impact of road tolls and congestion charging.

A total of 24% of finance directors now believe that road charging will have a serious impact on their business, up from 14% 12 months ago. But one in five respondents also see the loss of business hours from traffic congestion as a significant concern, almost double the percentage from last year.

McNally added: ‘Traffic congestion is a serious problem for a lot of businesses, with employees behind the wheel losing valuable time going nowhere and doing nothing.

‘Although road pricing schemes can reduce the volume of traffic, they can create an additional financial burden on businesses. Organisations need to ensure they have a clearly-communicated policy for drivers who regularly encounter these schemes – such as in central London.’

At the end of last year, it was announced that local authorities in seven areas had been awarded £7 million to investigate ‘innovative ways’ of tackling congestion, as part of a move towards the introduction of a national road pricing scheme (Fleet NewsNet, December 8).

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