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Look closer at fuel cost transparency

Look closer at fuel cost transparency

Taking a closer look at fuel costs can bring unpleasant surprises for some fleet managers. Although fuel probably represents their largest variable cost item apart from staff costs, many have only a limited idea of how much they are spending. Unless a fleet is refuelling with the right commercial rate fuel cards, it is virtually impossible to predict fuel costs with any precision.

Paying pump prices means that identical vehicles can refuel with diesel or petrol at exactly the same time, only a few miles from each other, but at greatly differing costs. If one fills up at a supermarket and the other on the motorway, the bills could differ by 10p per litre or more. Worse, they could both refuel at the same places a couple of days later and find that the prices have gone up. This could happen week after week, giving the fleet manager no chance of predicting expenditure.

As if it were not bad enough to be paying constantly varying pump prices, some fleet managers have to take account of extra costs. Whether these are called transaction charges, network fees or something else, the principle is always the same. A driver pulls in, fills up, drives off. Later, the fleet manager receives an invoice for the fuel, at whatever the pump price had been, plus an extra charge on top. This is typically around £2 and is applied to every single refuelling, regardless of how much fuel was bought. If the fleet is only a couple of dozen vans, refuelling weekly, that adds around £2,500 to the annual fuel bill.

One way to avoid such extra costs is to scour all of the small print. A much better way is to find a supplier who makes it very clear that it does not, and will not, levy additional charges to the price of fuel bought with a commercial rate fuel card. This has the bigger benefit that commercial rate fuel cards offer fixed weekly pricing, so that the fleet manager always knows in advance how much refuelling will cost. A single per litre price is applied nationwide, typically up to 4p per litre below national average pump prices, and is charged regardless of where vehicles refuel. This includes motorways, where the saving can be up to 10p per litre on pump prices.

Take a closer look at fuel cost transparency and, with the right supplier, you can be confident of no unpleasant surprises:

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