Time spent refuelling is becoming a critical issue for LCV operators, according
to The Fuelcard People. Steve Clarke, group marketing manager, has highlighted an overlooked challenge in the rising use of LCVs, reported in Commercial Fleet. “Moving the same load in smaller vehicles means more traffic,” he said. “That is challenging, but is only the tip of the iceberg. There will be a real effect on everyone from greater van traffic.”
The number of LCVs is expected almost to double during the next five years. This has consequences for everyone, said Steve Clarke. “Vans refuel more often than trucks,” he said. “Carry the same goods, on the same journeys, but with more frequent refuelling and the result higher forecourt demand. That means queues. The longer that it takes each driver to complete the process, the worse it becomes. Unless everyone gets in and out quickly, there will be queues before the pumps and bottlenecks rejoining the road.”
He also said that long lines of vehicles trying to leave a filling station could have safety implications.
“A constant stream of vehicles trying to feed back onto the carriageway means that other drivers have to slow down or move over,” he said. “Either means congestion and, possibly, sudden braking. That is a potential hazard. If vehicles are unable to leave the exit slipway, traffic will back up right through the filling station and cause queues before it. Van users and drivers can hardly be blamed, but we can all expect problems.”
Steve Clarke is well positioned to comment, with many years’ experience in the refuelling sector. He said, “You would expect the leading name in fuel cards to have an obvious interest in this, but the facts are simple. There will be another 2.5 million vans on our roads by 2020, so getting vehicles of all sorts through forecourts as quickly and efficiently as possible will be crucial. If they are using fuel cards and saving money at the same time, that can hardly be a bad thing.”
The Fuelcard People provides cards that allow LCV and other commercial road users to refuel at a fixed weekly price, available at thousands of locations throughout the country. This means a typical discount of up to 4p per litre on pump prices, with even bigger savings on the motorways. Its cards can be used at BP, Esso, Shell and Texaco filling stations, on the Diesel Direct and UK Fuels networks and on supermarket forecourts.