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Increasing use of vans will create problems for car fleets, says The Fuelcard People


The increasing numbers of vans will have time and safety implications for car fleets when it comes to refuelling, according to The Fuelcard People.

Many fleets are downsizing from trucks to vans, but this raises an overlooked challenge, says Steve Clarke, its group marketing manager.

“Moving the same load in smaller vehicles means more traffic,” he said.

“That is challenging, but is only the tip of the iceberg. There will be a real effect on car fleets from greater van traffic.”

Some experts expert the number of LCVs to almost double during the next five years. This has consequences for everyone, said Clarke.

“Vans refuel more often than trucks,” he said. “Carry the same goods, on the same journeys, but with more frequent refuelling and the result is higher forecourt demand. That means queues.

"The longer that it takes each driver to complete the process, the worse it becomes. Unless everyone gets in and out quickly, there will be queues before the pumps and bottlenecks rejoining the road.”

He added that long lines of vehicles trying to leave a filling station could have safety implications.

“A constant stream of vehicles trying to feed back onto the carriageway means that other drivers have to slow down or move over either means congestion and, possibly, sudden braking," said Clarke.

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  • David Watts - 21/08/2015 13:22

    The growing numbers of vehicles on the road raises a variety of traffic impact questions but I'm sure we can be quite so definitive on the outcomes associated with van growth. Firstly, the number of fuel stations in the UK has dropped from 37,000 in 1970 to about 8,600 today whereas the number of cars and vans on the road has grown significantly (10m in the last 20 years) without the problems described in this article. The number of vans has grown 62% since 1994 so I would question whether a further 100% rise in the next 5 years is realistic. New van registrations have only just reached pre-2008 levels. The RAC Foundation, in their 'Van Travel trends in GB' (Apr 2014) forecast van numbers to double by 2040 which is perhaps more realistic. It's also important to consider that downsizing doesn't automatically imply a greater number of vehicles / congestion. If HGVs aren't being fully utilised then downsizing to vans is a more efficient option. The use of HGVs in urban areas has its own implications with regards to traffic flow and congestion which would be reduced by the use of vans instead. To put the article in context - an extra 3.5m vans using the 8,600 fuel stations twice a week works out at about an extra 10 vehicles an hour. I'm not sure that will cause the queues and congestion suggested

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