The recent headlines that we are paying more than we should for fuel will not have come as a major surprise to anyone. It is an all too familiar phenomenon that as soon as oil prices go up, pump prices do the same. But when the oil prices go down, the correlation is less obvious and observable.
This is an irritation for householders, but it can be a major problem for businesses that use cars, vans and trucks every day. Every company needs to look at all its outgoings to identify ways it can cut costs, so naturally, using a fuel card is one topic that has come under the microscope in recent months. Research has shown that using fuel cards to pay for petrol and diesel can save money in more ways than you might think.
The best prices
Every fuel card is different, so you need to assess each on its own merits. However, many fuel card operators are able to fix the price per litre below the pump price that everyone else is paying. Others might pass on the savings they make by smart sourcing of fuel from the suppliers offering the best deal. Always keep the question of fees in mind, however. Some cards are free and involve no fixed contract, in which there is nothing to lose, but if you are considering one that charges a fee, make sure the savings outweigh the costs.
Better visibility of expenditure
A fuel card provides complete visibility of how much you are spending on fuel and when and where you are spending it. By assigning specific cards per vehicle or per driver, you have all the information you need to understand which are more fuel efficient and where overspend seems to be occurring. It provides the opportunity to share best practice across the fleet and drive down your total costs.
Easing cash flow
The above information will help you understand overall fleet expenditure and budget better for your fuel costs. On top of that, the fact that you pay monthly by direct debit means one less unknown in the list of expenses – you will know exactly when fuel costs will be leaving the account every month.
No more receipt errors
Many fuel cards connect directly to your accounting system and can produce tailored reports on a weekly or monthly basis. One of the biggest benefits here is you no longer need to chase drivers for those lost, screwed up or coffee-soaked receipts. All the information is right there online, meaning better reporting efficiency and less hassle for everyone including drivers, managers and accounts staff.
All the gain, none of the pain
Using a fuel card delivers a wealth of benefits, and there really is no down side. Many people are choosing to start using them for their private fuel costs, which makes plenty of sense. But for business use in particular, there is no better way of making savings and controlling fuel costs.