Data released this week shows that commercial vehicle fleets are being short-changed because a fall in the wholesale price of fuel has not been passed on to them by retailers. Fleet managers have faced record pump prices over the last twelve months after fuel providers passed on increases in the wholesale prices; however, the recent fall in wholesale price has not been fully reflected on the forecourts of the United Kingdom.
The German Government is all set to regulate their fuel prices and force all retailers to log price information so drivers and fleet managers can work out if they are being ripped off. This would mirror the approach adopted in Austria in 2011. The same could now be about to happen in the UK after Transport Secretary Justine Greening confirmed that she will consider legislation to force petrol retailers to pass on any cuts in the wholesale price of fuel. However, fleet managers will still have to budget for the hike in fuel duty in August of 3.02ppl, despite increases over the past twelve months costing companies dear.
In the past financial year fuel expenditure has exceeded budget expectations by over 40% at many businesses in the UK, with the increase down to record pump prices. Many fleet managers are now prioritising fuel efficient technology in an attempt to redress the balance. Fleets are also evaluating journeys, changing to more fuel efficient vehicles, introducing fuel cards to reduce fuel costs and spending more time looking for a cheap van insurance quote.
Edmund King, President of the AA, said “A £2-a-tank saving for drivers eases some of the pressures on UK businesses, but there is so much further to go. Germany’s move towards fuel price regulation reflects a growing consumer and political backlash against high fuel prices at a time of recession. Since 2005, the AA has argued the need for transparency in the road fuel market, from supplier to retailer, and now a more severe form is being forced on the industry. Fuel costs are now ridiculous and it’s the biggest challenge that fleet manager’s face.”