Hundreds of thousands of English businesses could be wasting £1 billion every year simply because of misconceptions about how to reduce fuel costs.
Now the Energy Saving Trust is hoping to bust the myths holding businesses back, ranging from wrongly believing fuel efficiency training for drivers won’t make a difference to failing to properly cost the savings offered by hybrid or electric vehicles, with its new Fleet Service Review.
Fully funded by the Department for Transport (DfT), the free review of English companies’ fleet operations is aiming to drive change in the way business thinks about their transport options.
Andrew Benfield, director of transport at the Energy Saving Trust said: “Nearly half a million English companies manage their own fleets, but there is a widespread misunderstanding of how much costs can be reduced just by making a few small changes.
“There are 480,000 English SMEs responsible for 2.4million vehicles on our roads – a small difference here can make huge difference to the environment, but perhaps more importantly for business owners, to the amount spent on fuelling the country’s businesses.
“In fact, something as simple as providing fuel efficiency training for drivers has been shown to cut consumption by 15% straight away. Even if old habits return, a long-term five per cent improvement in fuel economy is still more than possible.
The new research by Sewells, commissioned by the Energy Saving Trust, shows that:
- Fuel efficiency is second only to reliability in vehicle consideration by SMEs
- Van-based fleets are more aware of available fuel types than car-based fleets
- And van-based fleets are more likely to train drivers on fuel efficiency
- 10% of SMEs say they’re ‘very likely’ to seek advice on fuel savings – but less than a quarter of those know who to go to
Benfield continued: “It’s clear that the rising cost of fuel is a concern for businesses but many don’t know who to turn to for advice on reducing their costs.
“Our fleet services reviews will provide a free analysis of your fleet, recommend ways to improve performance and demonstrate cost savings that will result from this. We think this will be hugely valuable for SMEs and help bolster their performance even further.
“When you take that saving across a number of vehicles, no matter the size of your fleet, the savings become even more substantial.”
The Fleet Services scheme offers SMEs interested in reducing their fuel costs and carbon footprint a Green Fleet Review. Designed for those operating a fleet of between 20-100 cars, it provides impartial advice on best practice vehicle management and driver training, as well as a whole-life cost analysis for alternative fuel vehicles, such as plug-in hybrids.
Meanwhile, for any company looking at using low emission vehicles, the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle Review will deliver up to date information on the different types of vehicles on the market, including range and fuel-type, a whole-life cost analysis and support to arrange site surveys for installation of required infrastructure, such as charging points.
“A common view we have encountered is that hybrid vehicles are considered too expensive, but it may be that operators aren’t adopting a whole-life approach to measuring this,” said Benfield.
“Factoring in fuel costs and National Insurance contributions – both of which are linked directly to the vehicle’s CO2 emissions – are the two most important elements in addition to lease price, service and maintenance costs as well as congestion charges that should be considered.
“Little changes like this will help businesses make more informed vehicle choices, which can make a big difference to lifetime running costs, which is why we would encourage people to get in touch and find out how our Fleet Services can help your business realise the benefits of cleaner and greener vehicles.”
For more information on Fleet Services, click here.