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Don’t be swayed by cheaper diesel

Feb 05, 2016

For a few months last year the price of diesel at the pumps dropped below that of petrol. That might have encouraged some operators to look towards diesel for small vans rather than petrol. However, according to The Fuelcard People, looking at fuel alone misses the point. Steve Clarke, the company’s group marketing manager, has pointed out that day-to-day fuel pricing is not the main factor to be considered.

“Diesel became cheaper than petrol this summer, for the first time since 2001,” he said. “Better mpg figures for diesel might suggest an obvious choice, but that misses the point. Unless you consider every cost during a van’s lifetime, any comparison will be meaningless.”

He explained that fleet managers should take into account road tax, servicing, maintenance, repairs, tyres and other consumables. “You have to keep track of everything spent through a vehicle’s life with the fleet,” he said. “It is the only way to make meaningful evaluation of one van against another. It also puts you in a more powerful negotiating position when procuring future vehicles.”

Steve added that pump pricing is a ‘red herring’ anyway because fleet operators don’t need to pay that much. “Whether a van or other LCV runs on diesel or petrol, most should be refuelling at up to 4p per litre below pump prices with fuel cards. Whole-life costing, or total cost of ownership, has to be the key issue in van comparisons.”

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