With the average price of a litre of fuel now approaching £1, 90% of those questioned say fuel costs are more of an influence on business mileage costs than road tolls and congestion. This is a rise of 40% in the number of respondents claiming fuel cost was their biggest concern, according to the quarterly survey GE Company Car Trends.
The report says many firms are withdrawing private fuel allowances as prices fluctuate and corporate fuel policies are tightened. The percentage of drivers being offered private fuel has fallen dramatically, from 85% in the first quarter of 2005 to just 33% now.
The survey, of 675 companies and their fleets, showed green issues as high on the agenda, ranking as the fifth most important transport issue but the tightening of fuel controls is more to do with managing costs than worrying about environment.
Rich Green, managing director at GE Fleet Services, said: ‘Clearly fuel costs have continued to escalate and the upward trend is worrying for fleet decision makers who have a big role to play in controlling organisational costs.
‘The sophisticated fleet manager is looking at a number of ways to mitigate these increasing costs, from a strategic policy review to the adoption of fuel card best practices. Surprisingly our survey shows that 34% of companies have no actions planned to implement the benefits of fuel cards.’
Experts fear worldwide demand for crude oil will push oil prices, and so the cost of fuel, even higher.
This could result in changes to the way businesses operate. Many fleets are looking at biofuel, while driver training and reducing unnecessary journeys can also help ease the strain on resources.