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Fleets to absorb fuel rises

Date: 12 June 2008   |   Author:

A quarter of fleets have said they will have to keep swallowing the increased cost of fuel, even if it hits the heights of £2 per litre.

According to research carried out by leasing firm Alphabet in conjunction with BusinessCar, just 5% of the 250 businesses probed said they would pass on the cost to customers. This ranked below those that would be reviewing their car policy (6%), reducing car journeys (15%) and those that didn't know what they would do (19%).

Alphabet's Green Fleet Research document also found only 54% of fleets questioned have already taken action to make their fleets greener. Of that, 84% plan to restrict the CO2 of cars they offer in the next 12 months, though only 61% said they will look at limiting drivers to cars with better mpg, highlighting the lack of industry understanding about how emissions and economy are linked.

Alphabet was also worried that 45% of fleets that have taken action don't actually have a green target.

"This shows there's no genuine desire to go green; people are ticking the box but not setting targets," said Alphabet leasing boss Mark Sinclair. "There's a reluctance to rock the boat and displace the benefit employees see at the moment. Fleet managers don't want to bring bad news."

Alphabet also expressed concern at what marketing manager Amanda Philp described as a "big fat apathy" from many fleets toward green issues. The leasing firm found 39% of those that haven't introduced green thinking to their fleet policy, have failed to do so because of a combination of it not being a priority or they've been too busy. A further 44% cited a lack of impetus from either the board or fleet manager. "Are they really saying they're too busy to save money?" said Philp.

"Employees aren't crying out for greener cars, so attempts to change will be seen as negative," said Sinclair. "Who's going to be negative if the board isn't pushing it?"