Fleet News

Finance comment: Soaring fuel costs fix focus on consumption


"With fuel prices at record levels and showing no signs of falling any time soon, keeping fuel spend at a minimum is more important than ever.

Here are our top tips for reducing the amount of fuel that your fleet consumes.

Drivers

There are plenty of steps drivers can take to reduce their own fuel consumption:

* Is the journey absolutely necessary? It could be that meetings can be carried out via video conferencing or webinar – a web-based seminar or presentation.

* If the journey is unavoidable, work out the shortest route to the destination before leaving.
 
* Check there are no delays or roadworks on the chosen route. Live traffic information is available at www.highways.gov.uk
 
* Try and minimise use of air conditioning. Constant use can increase fuel consumption by around 10%.
 
* Look at accessories on the vehicle – roof racks and similar extras increase drag. They can also affect fuel consumption by 10%. It could be that it is more cost effective to choose a larger vehicle if you have lots of things to carry.
 
* Keep to speed limits. Not only will you be safer and preserve your licence, but driving at 85mph on the motorway uses 20% more fuel than driving at 70mph.
 
* If you drive a 4x4, switch off four-wheel-drive when on the road, as doing so will use less fuel.

Vehicles

The choice of vehicle and the way it is looked after can have a dramatic effect on fuel consumption:

* Check the condition of the tyres daily and check the pressure every week. Make sure that pressures are as recommended by the manufacturer. Under-inflated tyres can add 8% to fuel consumption.
 
* Remove unnecessary weight from the vehicle. Having the boot full of odds and ends means the engine has to work harder to ferry it all around.
 
* Service the vehicle regularly, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. A well-maintained vehicle will be more fuel efficient.

* Check the oil regularly.
 
* Check the fitment of the fuel filler cap. Make sure it fits snugly to avoid fuel evaporation.

Fleet policy

A sound fleet policy will ensure a multitude of issues that can affect fuel consumption are controlled throughout the company.
 
* Do you still pay for drivers’ private fuel? If so, you are in effect encouraging them to make more use of it and cover more miles. The tax system works in such a way that drivers have to spend a lot on fuel to reap the benefits.
 
* Companies, particularly small firms, traditionally choose vehicles from a list based on purchase price. A better way is to choose on a wholelife cost basis, which takes into account all of the costs associated with running a car over the time you expect to have it on the fleet. This includes rental, all forms of taxation, insurance and the anticipated fuel costs.
 
* It is most likely that given the emergence of new technology and society’s drive for lower emissions that newer vehicles will have better fuel consumption. Try to ensure that the vehicles you have on your fleet are as up-to-date as possible.
 
* Help and advice can be obtained from your leasing company, including HSBC Vehicle Finance."

Small details make a big difference:
www.hsbc.co.uk/vehiclefinance
 

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