Company car drivers seek better fuel economy

Published 24 January 2015

Company car drivers are becoming more likely to drive slower, turn off the air conditioning or avoid heavy acceleration in a bid to reduce their company’s fuel bill, according to research by RAC Business.

The survey, conducted as part of the RAC’s annual Report on Motoring, found that 40% of company car drivers actively changed their driving behaviour to improve their fuel economy, compared to 27% of private vehicle owners.

Overall, two-thirds of company car drivers (66%) said they monitored the fuel consumption of their vehicle, compared to less than half (44%) of private vehicle owners.

David Aldridge, RAC business services director, said: "Fuel prices have dropped significantly over the past few months, but filling up the tank can still represent a huge chunk of a business’s expenditure.

"Adopting a fuel-efficient driving style could add up to savings of thousands of pounds every year across a fleet of vehicles while also contributing to a reduction in emissions.

"It’s encouraging to see company car drivers are being proactive about fuel efficiency, especially when they’re unlikely to be personally liable for the cost and you might think would care less because it’s not their own personal vehicle.

"However there are a number of factors combining which could be encouraging company car drivers to think about fuel costs."

In December 2014 HMRC cut the company car fuel allowances across six categories to as little as 11p a mile for diesel and 13p a mile for petrol.

Aldridge added: "In order to break even on their fuel allowances many company car drivers have become used to driving as efficiently as possible to maximise their allowance.

"Until recently, fuel prices have been consistently high, so this inevitably will have put efficiency front of mind."

The RAC’s research also highlighted how company car drivers are able to achieve better fuel efficiency due to the in-car technology that is now available.

The majority (90%) of company car drivers said they used their vehicle’s built-in dashboard or computer, compared with 68% of private vehicle owners.

By contrast, non-company car drivers were more likely to calculate it manually (27%), use a smartphone app (5%) or calculate it on a website (3%).

Aldridge added: "Technology can help drivers keep track of their fuel efficiency and vehicles themselves are becoming more sophisticated at self-monitoring.

"The increasing use of telematics could also be altering driver behaviour. When your speed and journeys are being monitored by your company, inevitably this will have a knock-on effect on how efficiently you drive.

"At the RAC, we saw huge savings in our company fuel bill when telematics was rolled out across our fleet. A similar pattern will be seen in other businesses, of all sizes."


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