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Drivers decry Fuel Rates but still visit motorway services

A Leasedrive survey of nearly 500 company car drivers reveals that 61% believe the Government figures are not fair.

That compares starkly with Leasedrive’s own figures from a year ago which revealed that 67% of drivers questioned were satisfied with the rates.

Pump price volatility has been a major issue for fleet bosses over the past year, while ACFO has campaigned hard for HMRC to make the rates more robust.

It secured victory in its long-running campaign in June, when HMRC announced that it would review AFRs on a quarterly basis, instead of just twice a year. It also announced it would relax the margin built into the average fuel consumption projection from within 10% to within 15% to better reflect real-world driving conditions, while introducing an additional rate band for diesel.

The changes have certainly helped soften the blow of a 17% increase in the average price of a litre of diesel, from £1.20 a year ago to £1.40 today.

However, fleet managers could be doing more to steer drivers away from the most expensive forecourts, minimising fuel costs to both the employee and employer.

The Leasedrive survey reveals that 61% of drivers questioned said their company policy was to use any filling station, with only 8% of drivers saying that their company stipulated a supermarket only policy.

Fuel from supermarkets can be between 3-5p per litre cheaper than the average price of diesel and up to 10p per litre less than the price at motorway services.

Alternatives to the company car are not actively encouraged either for nearly four out of five drivers (79%), while only 19% of respondents had increased their use of public transport during the past year.

Meanwhile, 36% of respondents said they were holding fewer face-to-face meetings in favour of video and conference calls, recognising that the cheapest mile is the one never driven.

Roddy Graham, commercial director, Leasedrive Group, believes the survey results show that organisations could do far more to control fuel costs.

“Only 8% of drivers are requested to refuel at supermarkets – normally the cheapest for fuel – and only 12% are asked to avoid refuelling at motorway service stations, normally the most expensive,” he said.

“With prices at the pumps this year at record levels, more could be done to control costs through tighter fleet policies, mileage management and choice of fuel cards.”

However, while filling up with the cheapest fuel benefits van fleets, there is little motivation for car fleets operating an fixed pence per mile AFR reimbursement policy to manage where drivers fill up. Cheaper pump prices only benefit the driver.

Enthusiasm for alternative fuels remains low. Only 6% of drivers said they are likely to choose a hybrid as their next company car. Just two of the 500 drivers surveyed are likely to choose a bio-fuel vehicle, while only one person said they were likely to consider an electric vehicle.

Diesel remains the overwhelming fleet favourite, with 86% of respondents saying they were likely to choose a diesel car next time around; only 7% said they would opt for petrol.

Courtesy of Fleetnews.

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