Business drivers use just a handful of fillings stations to refuel and plan their journeys around them, research from fuel card business Fuelmate has revealed.
The company analysed the data and behaviour of more than 15,000 business drivers with a requirement for national coverage, and found that more than 70% – more than 10,000 – used just 30 filling stations to refuel, out of a total of 8,450 in the UK.
Fuelmate says the research flies in the face of conventional thinking which says that national fleet operators need to provide drivers with fuel cards that can be used at practically every forecourt across the country.
The research reveals that business drivers working across the whole of the UK choose from just a handful of filling stations and stick to those regardless of where they are going.
Andy Smith, manager at Fuelmate, said the data meant that companies operating national fleets could be paying out thousands of pounds in extra fuel costs and admin fees each year, simply for using cards that were accepted at a wide range of forecourts.
He said: “There is a misconception in the marketplace that companies running national fleets need to provide fuel cards that are accepted at just about any forecourt in the UK to each of their drivers.
“But our figures highlight that this simply isn’t the case. The fact is, drivers routinely choose from just a small number of filling stations each time they fill up, regardless of where they are going. By analysing driver behaviour more closely, companies can make significant savings.”
According to the company’s calculations, a national company operating a medium-sized van fleet, and using around 18,000 litres of fuel each month, could save nearly £2,000 per year in fuel costs and £8,500 per year on administration costs, by selecting a card more suited to its driver’s habits.
A larger national company, operating a mixed fleet and using around 36,000 litres of fuel each month, could save a total of almost £24,000 per year by employing cards that were accepted in fewer places, but didn’t disrupt their drivers’ progress.
Smith said: “The fact of the matter is that if you use a card that is accepted at practically every forecourt in the UK you will pay through the nose for it. You will pay forecourt prices or even a bit higher, and you will pay relatively high administration charges.
“By analysing the data from more than 15,000 drivers, we have found that it isn’t at all necessary to use such cards, even if you have drivers covering the length and breadth of the country.
"The fact is they choose the most convenient filling stations for themselves and stick with those. By intelligent analysis of your drivers’ habits, you can save tens of thousands of pounds each year on your fuel costs.”