Report Says Company Vehicle Drivers Attitudes Are Changing as They Try To Save Fuel?
Recent research by another leasing company suggests that business car driver’s attitude towards fuel consumption has changed in light of what’s referred to as spiraling fuel prices and that they are doing their bit to ensure their employers fuel bills are kept as low as possible.
The recent research revealed that 1000 business drivers were questioned and that 50% of them said they shop around for the lowest priced fuel, whilst 65% said they drive more slowly and smoothly to try and save fuel and 20% of them somehow managed to drive less miles. Now that’s really good encouraging stuff and who am I to say that’s not the case?
Truth is, all of our attitudes have changed towards driving as fuel prices have climbed and salaries have stood still, but in our experience however, it’s the company car driver that’s been least effected by the hike in prices because for the main part, they are not paying for the fuel they use.
As part of this research, company car drivers were asked their views on what’s been euphemistically referred to as “on-board technology which could help reduce their fuel bill” and were asked if they would approve of these systems and around 87% said yes and that’s encouraging as well, but in truth, I wonder if they knew just what technology the question referred to?
On-board technology itself isn’t going to save fuel; your car is what it is. Speed restrictors, or rev-limiters would make some difference, but the trade off in inconvenience and safety is just too great. Satellite navigation can help drivers take the quickest routes and avoid traffic jams and that can save fuel, whilst extra information being displayed letting you know your mpg, could encourage some drivers to play a little game with their car to see how high an mpg they can achieve and if they can beat yesterdays result, but is that really enough? Maybe we should just all stay at home.
Well sorry because I don’t want to go bursting anyone’s bubble here, but in my experience, the majority of company car drivers that I have talked to and known, “assuming they are being honest” don’t give a stuff about fuel costs, or how much they use, as they aren’t paying for it. All this slowing down stuff and changing your driving style to get a higher mpg, or searching around for the garage that’s got the cheapest gas, is nonsense. If, however the drivers had a fuel limit, or fuel allowance, well that might be different, but drive on any motorway and there is a string of what are obviously company vehicles passing you at huge rates of knot’s, so clearly, not on an economy run! I just don’t see the majority of company car drivers setting the cruise at 56mph to save gas when they can bang the right foot down and get home 30mins earlier?
There is however another side to this. Engine technology has improved hugely and whilst your company car driver might still be driving the same amount of miles and perhaps disappointingly, driving the same way, chances are the fuel that’s gone through their car is going to be less, as cars are just so much more economical than they were just a very few years ago.
Ford recently published some figures that show despite a 34% hike in fuel costs in the past 4 years, using one of the modern eco engines can mean that the fuel cost per mile is actually less than it was 4 years ago. The example figures show that in 2008, when petrol was 104.3p a litre and an average 100ps Focus, would cost 11.2p per mile in fuel costs yet fast forwarding to 2012 with fuel costs at 140p per litre, a modern Focus can cost just 10.8p per mile as fuel consumption has increased from 42.2mpg on the 2008 car to 58.9mpg on the latest car.
OK, whilst these are Ford figures, we are sure they will apply equally to most other car manufacturer as they’ve all made massive eco-strides, so maybe, just maybe, we aren’t in the awful situation we all think we are. That said clearly, fuel costs are not going to decline and of course, car makers cant make these things run on thin air, so at some point companies are going to have to look at how to control costs more effectively, although I do expect that once things begin to pick-up and the economy gets stronger and we all start doing well again, we will do what we’ve always done and that’s put the cost of getting around down as a necessary overhead of our businesses and forget all about it.