Fuel could overtake depreciation to become the highest pence per mile cost of running a company car within five years.

Fleet software firm CFC Solutions, said petrol and diesel prices have rocketed by 50% over the last five years and forecast a similar increase before 2016.

Currently depreciation is the most expensive cost. On a 2.0-litre upper-medium petrol car depreciation accounts for about 25 pence per mile with fuel costing 16 pence.

But the cost of depreciation is likely to remain static in the next five years while fuel will keep rising.

CFC boss Neville Briggs said depreciation had been by far the highest cost for company car operators since records of whole life costs were introduced in the 1970s.

“Being overtaken by fuel would represent a complete change in fleet economics and could cause a paradigm shift in fleet management thinking,” he said.

Briggs predicted fleets would try to drive down fuel use through stepping up journey management initiatives such as car sharing and driver training.

He also forecast a sharp rise in the take up of alternative fuel vehicles such as electric cars.

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