Covid-19 pandemic causes greater divergence between car and van management
21 October 2020
Author: Sean Keywood
The demands of managing cars and vans on fleets are becoming increasingly divergent as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
That's according to data from ServicePoint, fuel card provider Allstar's SMR portal, with many van fleets seeing increased mileage, while the reverse is true for company cars.
Paul Holland, managing director of UK fuel at Allstar's parent company Fleetcor, said: "At the start of lockdown, we saw circumstances emerge where many van fleets were operating under considerable pressure to deliver essential services. For many of them, that situation hasn't really let up.
"Similarly, car fleets were basically grounded at the same time and, given the large proportion of people that are continuing to work from home and increased use of video conferencing, the mileage covered by many of them has remained much reduced.
"The two questions we believe need asking are how do people in charge of managing vehicles react to this divergence and is it a permanent change for fleets?"
According to Holland, ServicePoint data provides a strong indication of the way in which the situation is being handled.
He said: "From what we can see, van fleets are having to deal with two impulses - the need to keep vehicles safe at times of high usage and the desire to keep on top of costs when general economic conditions mean that budgets are under pressure.
"For cars, the issues are almost the reverse - how to maintain vehicles that are undergoing much reduced use, especially the necessity to check them regularly to ensure ongoing safety."
Holland predicted that this state of affairs was likely to continue until a fundamental change came in the pandemic situation, such as a vaccine being deployed.
"Our view is that for the foreseeable future, the journeys that are made in company cars will continue to prove the value of these vehicles as business tools but that there is likely to be much more emphasis on whether travel is strictly necessary or options such as video conferencing can be used as an alternative," he said.
"Conversely, it is difficult to see van fleets becoming much less busy than we are seeing at the moment, being powered as they are by a series of coronavirus trends, especially when it comes to home delivery of goods and services."
Holland added that post-pandemic, he expected company car driver mileage to increase, but remain below pre-pandemic levels, but cautioned that the degree to which this would occur was impossible to predict.