The Fuelcard Company is warning fleet companies to take extra care with their fuel usage as the bad weather threatens to leave tens of thousands of motorists across the country with no fuel.
Businesses are being urged to deliver emergency fuel efficiency driving training and double check their route planning, particularly when travelling in rural areas hit the hardest by the crisis.
Some forecourts have already run out of fuel and others could run out of diesel soon, according to The Retail Motor Industry Independent Petrol Retailers Association (RMI), which represents around two thirds of the UK’s 9,000 petrol forecourt sites.
The shortages have occurred after a number of road tankers have been unable to leave the main terminals from two refineries south of the Humber – the Total refinery at Lindsey and the Jet (Conoco) refinery at Killingholme – due to the snow. Logistics companies are now struggling to serve the backlog with Transport Secretary Philip Hammond temporarily relaxing restrictions on lorry drivers' working hours from nine-hour daily limit to 10 hours for HGVs to help vital supplies of fuel, food and gritting salt be delivered.
Jakes de Kock, marketing director of The Fuelcard Company, said fleet companies could make the fuel they have stretch much further simply by applying some fuel efficiency driving tips.
“The way in which we drive can have a massive affect on fuel consumption. Speeding, aggressive acceleration and sudden braking can increase fuel usage by as much as 40 percent. Simply slowing down a little and maintaining a steady speed to avoid excessive braking or acceleration will reduce fuel usage significantly. Driving in as high a gear as possible and reducing the revs also advisable to help preserve fuel.”
“If ever there was a time to start fuel efficiency driving training – it’s now, when companies need to make their fuel last as long as possible until the oil crisis has been resolved.”
RMI said its members across the east of the UK from Scotland down to Kent were seeing shortages at the pumps with some facilities reporting that they were two or three days behind normal delivery schedules already.
“Fleet companies should also be prepared to revise their planned route to avoid rural filling stations away from the main truck roads, which are likely to be the first to run dry and last to refill,” he said. “Fuel efficiency will become even more necessary as the Winter weather conditions worsen and snow becomes more commonplace.”