A five point fuel plan designed to help fleets cut fuel costs has been issued as the average price of unleaded petrol exceeded £1.00 per litre for the first time in a year while diesel prices increased even further to £1.03.

CFC Solutions, the fleet software market leader, says that some fleet managers believe that fuel is an unmanageable cost and that little worthwhile action can be taken in the face of constantly rising prices – but that the opposite is, in fact, the case.

Neville Briggs, managing director at CFC Solutions, said: “Fuel is one of the areas of fleet management that responds most dramatically to a proactive managerial approach.

“In our experience, the best managerial tools available are fuel cards and fleet software. Used together, these allow you to take control over how company money is spent on fuel, gather accurate data about fuel use, and then analyse that information.

“In a short period of time, you can formulate a fuel policy that will have quite an effect on costs. Even when prices are rising, the impact on you fuel bill can be minimised.”

The CFC five point fuel plan states:

• Identify wasteful drivers

We all know drivers with a concrete right foot who rev the engine unnecessarily and accelerate with abandon. Those drivers can use up to 20 per cent more fuel than the most efficient drivers in your company. If you use a fuel card or fleet management software, you’ll be able to see which drivers average the worst fuel consumption and take appropriate management action. Driver training can be used as an extreme solution but just raising the issue with an individual can often produce good results.

• Check which vehicles use more fuel

Some drivers use more fuel than others, and so do[/i] some vehicles. It is not unusual to find a strong variance between vehicles that appear identical and are used by responsible drivers in similar operating conditions. Again, if you use a fuel card or fleet management software, you’ll have data that will allow you to identify these vehicles and then look for mechanical defects or other factors that may be causing the problem.

• Take control of fuel buying

This is the single easiest point to implement. Fuel prices across the country, or even across the same town or city, can often vary by more than 10 per cent. Make sure that you monitor fuel prices regularly – several web sites will help you do this – and that your drivers are not shopping at outlets where prices are the highest. Even if your fleet is quite small, adopting a fuel card is a step that can provide an easy method of tracking where fuel is brought and help to make the prices paid more predictable.

• Only drive necessary miles

Most company car drivers use their vehicles on business without a thought for how much fuel they are using. If you start to make them more accountable for the journeys they make, then the situation can change rapidly. One step is to make line managers responsible for justifying journeys, to ensure that only necessary miles are being driven. Also, situations where two or more people can share a vehicle should be investigated.

• Consider the green angle

One of the good things about taking a proactive stance on managing fuel use is that you will also be able to contain your carbon footprint more effectively. This can make the whole issue easier to deal with internally because you can stress the importance of corporate responsibility – for example, it may be easier to encourage drivers to share cars or take more care planning routes on environmental than cost grounds.

[i]CFC Solutions is the market leader in the supply of fleet, contract hire and workshop management solutions, and has been delivering ground breaking vehicle management software to UK and European blue chip customers for more than three decades. Information on products and services from CFC Solutions can be found at www.cfcsolutions.co.uk

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