Mike Waters' blog: 23 November 2011 - Personal fleet management
23 November 2011
Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.
By the time you read this article, MPs will have debated a motion urging the Government to stem the rise in fuel prices. The motion was tabled in response to an e-petition signed by more than 100,000 people and is supported by more than 100 (mostly Conservative) MPs.
The debate comes at a time when prices remain high and there are two duty increases planned for 2012 that could add something like 7pence per litre to the price we pay at the pump as we continue to see fuel making up an ever increasing percentage of vehicle TCO. What is also clear is that high prices are changing behaviour; in many respects forcing private consumers to act more like well run fleets when it comes to managing the cost of running the family car.
Research from British Car Auctions (BCA) shows that fuel prices are encouraging up to half of drivers to investigate downsizing their car to something more affordable while there are large groups that are thinking of hanging up their keys altogether and will look for alternative means of transport.
Now in one respect, this shows that the current tax policy is hitting the mark for the government when it comes to reducing environmental damage. Trading down, or out of cars altogether, reduces pollution levels and with the full range of vehicle taxes focused on the environment it is a big tick in the box and is in effect getting private drivers to make the same kind of tax based decisions fleet drivers have been making for many years.
So continuing the fleet theme, if TCO management works in large fleets then why not with a single car? Having a clear budget and looking to minimise all elements of cost can certainly help to insulate against ever rising fuel prices. Efficient driving techniques, cutting out unnecessary journeys, carefully planning routes and in particular making sure you buy well can all have a positive impact.
So can we expect a big cut in fuel duty? Probably not so controlling cost will remain an individual task; in effect we all need to become our own personal fleet manager.
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