Fleet News

Fuel: spotlight on biodiesel

Many smaller van fleet operators don’t think of themselves as running a vehicle fleet and so don’t consider using fuel cards.

It always surprises me how few operators of small van fleets give fuel cards to their drivers.

There seems to be a view that such things are for bigger companies and that a business with a few vans is unlikely to benefit.

When probing further, the problem seems to be the assumption that fuel is a no-option or distress purchase so that if you need to run vans you just have to accept the fuel cost and that’s the end of the story.

To some extent that’s true, vans won’t run on fresh air, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t buy better or run your vehicles more efficiently than you presently are.

If your drivers are using credit cards or cash to buy their fuel and the business owner is picking up the cost, how accountable do they feel to ensure they are getting the best available price?

Fuel costs are just determined by the pump price – vehicle maintenance issues and individual driving styles can make a surprising difference to what a company pays for fuel.

A fuel card will give you a price each week in advance for your diesel, no matter where your vehicles are filling up.

And what’s more it is usually at a cheaper price than the forecourt pump price.

However, the advantages do not end there – the in-depth reporting on individual drivers or vehicles is a great tool to help manage vehicle and driver efficiency.

If you have two identical vehicles, one maintained to the highest standards and driven by a conscientious driver, while the other is driven by the typical boy racer with incorrect tyre pressures and poor maintenance, the figures you get with a fuel card will soon highlight the difference.

It will also be useful when trying to evaluate the running costs of different makes and types of vehicle, very handy when you are coming to decisions on investing in new vehicles.

This is all without considering the issues of improved security from the fact that every card is PIN number secured and can be linked to particular vehicles and can only be used to purchase fuel and lubricants in any event.

Many companies run a van fleet as a service to their core business and haven’t given much thought about managing it.

Believe me, if you have five or more vehicles it is well worth while doing so.

Simplify your fuel purchasing by getting a fuel card and you will have instant accountability on these costs.

If you have read my previous two articles, you will have picked up on the importance of ensuring your fleet is as environmentally-friendly as possible.

Not only is it better for the planet, it is also better for your business.

Customers are increasingly demanding that suppliers demonstrate responsibility and getting a hold of your fuel costs through a fuel card is a good way of ensuring your vehicles are being driven in a way that minimises carbon emissions.

The other thing you could look at is a fuel card like Rix’s GoGreen card which allows drivers to achieve the benefits of buying a biofuel blend even if they fill up with conventional diesel.

In this way not only will you get detailed information about vehicle fuel usage and cost but you will also get statements showing the amount of carbon you have saved by using the card.

A typical small fleet using 120,000 litres of diesel a year will register a carbon saving of 13 tonnes over conventional diesel usage without any inconvenience.

There is no magic wand to slash your fuel costs and your vehicles’ carbon emissions but initiatives like the GoGreen fuel card can make a noticeable difference.

Add together a few such initiatives and you can make a significant difference.

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