A total of 1,000 company drivers were asked about their fuel buying habits and many admitted to using pay-and-reclaim schemes operated by their employers to mask other purchases, including cigarettes.
The survey also found that almost half (49%) of the UK workforce regularly buy fuel at the most convenient forecourt, saving themselves the bother of trying to find the cheapest.
Findings also showed that a further 12% said they sought out petrol stations that offered loyalty rewards.
The company behind the research, fuel card comparison site fuelcards.co.uk, says its findings add weight to the argument that fleets should ditch pay-and-reclaim schemes and opt for fuel cards instead.
Director Mark Kilvington said: ‘Our survey reveals a shocking and unnecessary waste of expenditure by businesses which are clearly being taken for a ride by their own employees.’
He added: ‘Expense claim systems are fraught with loopholes, but a fuel card would provide the dual benefit of potentially lowering the overall cost of fuel, while virtually eradicating mileage fraud altogether. When you consider that fuel prices recently peaked close to £1 a litre, there’s little excuse for ignoring a widespread problem that is harming firms’ profitability.’
The study found that two-thirds (67%) of motorists in Wales confessed to hiding private fuel in their mileage claims at work. The company also claims that one in five drivers spend up to two or more hours filling out their mileage expense forms.
Last year, fleets were warned that another common problem contributing to company fraud was drivers ‘rounding up’ their mileage expenses claims.
Experts speaking at a seminar claimed that fraud could account for 6% of a company’s turnover, costing a small to medium-sized business with a £10 million turnover up to £600,000 (Fleet News, October 13, 2005).