Employers warned to watch fuel costs for company cars

Employers with fleets of company cars should set up procedures that will help them to manage fuel costs, motoring experts have advised.

Fuel prices have recently hit record highs due to the knock-on effect of Hurricane Katrina in the US. The storm hit oil rigs and refineries in the Gulf coast of America, causing worldwide supply shortages in both crude oil and petrol that resulted in a corresponding rise in prices.

And although prices are now stablising, employers still need to consider how they will manage fuel costs in the longer term, said Adrian Waters, head of commercial fleet sales at AA Business Services.

“Putting more controls in place over where employees buy fuel from is very important, particularly where businesses are footing the bill,” he said.

“Unleaded petrol can be as much as 5p a litre more expensive at a rural garage or service station compared to a supermarket forecourt.  When you’re managing a fleet of hundreds of vehicles, this can contribute to significant costs savings.”

One of the ways of monitoring and controlling fuel spend is by using a fuel card, which not only gives fleet or HR managers a detailed weekly report of fuel being spent by each driver, but also shows where they are filling up and how much they are paying for fuel, Waters said.

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