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Call for strong fleet management to handle rising fuel prices

Date: 26 April 2019   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Rising fuel costs mean UK fleet chiefs need to adopt strong management techniques.

That's according to fleet management company Fleet Logistics UK, which cites data from the AA showing fuel costs hit a five-year seasonal high over the Easter period. 

The firm's country head Sue Branston said that the onus was therefore on managers to ensure that costs are kept under control and within budget, and that the right fuel purchasing strategy is followed. 

She said: "Fuel is the largest day-to-day operating cost on the company fleet and often the control of the price paid is in the driver's hand.  

"Even supermarket pricing, typically the cheapest retail purchasing opportunity, can be more expensive than a negotiated corporate deal on a set weekly rate directly with the source - the oil companies themselves, in some instances.

"There are many solutions available, but fuel is a complex commodity and truly needs to be understood in terms of the supplier offerings and all the hidden charges, such as transaction costs, and not just the price of fuel itself."

Branston said that while the most effective way of cutting costs was to reduce the number of journeys made, monitoring driver behaviour and identifying those who pay too much for fuel or drive inefficiently could also help. 

She added: "Fleet managers should also consider techniques such as efficiency driver training, which teaches drivers techniques for conserving fuel and anticipating road hazards and which has been shown to clearly reduce fuel consumption and costs." 

Branston said other options could be to consider downsizing or rightsizing vehicles to more fuel-efficient alternatives, or to consider alternatively-fuelled vehicles such as hybrids. Although with the latter she said driver mileage, range and the type of driving being undertaken also needed to be taken into account.

She added: "In urban areas, pure electric vehicles may be a consideration, but again their suitability for the task in hand - bearing in mind the range required - will also need to be factored into the decision."