As fuel prices fall, it’s time to reassess buying practices 23 December 2015

HGV operators and van users should be aware that falling fuel prices, while apparently good news, can also lead to problems.

That warning comes from the FuelCard People, with group marketing manager Steve Clarke, who observes that Brent crude has fallen below $40 per barrel for the first time in six years.

Although most HGV operators now use fuel cards for cost saving and convenience, some still depend upon bunkered diesel, and Clarke suggests this will now cost them dear.

“In the old days of relatively stable or consistently rising prices, it might have appeared sensible to commit to a bulk purchase,” explains Clarke.

“In reality, this always meant tying up a huge amount of capital in advance of refuelling need, then hoping that prices would not drop,” he continues.

His point: operators filling 200,000 litre tanks in November might have paid 108p per litre – a good deal then, but equivalent to a £16,000 overpayment against Christmas pump prices.

Meanwhile, he points to the folly of van users travelling even just three miles and back to a ‘cheaper’ forecourt and saving 1p per litre – noting that they need to pump 60 litres just to recoup the fuel used.

“With the right fuel card, they should not need to divert at all to save on pump prices,” states Clarke,

And he advises that fuel cards are not all the same.

“This is the perfect time for any HGV operator – and anyone with vans – to reassess their needs and compare the whole fuel card market. Ideally, they should talk to a supplier that can offer both fixed-price and pump price options, to avoid costly compromises.”

Brian Tinham

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The Fuelcard People

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