Global vehicle fleets have seen their fuel bills rise by as much as a third in the last year according to research by international leasing company Masterlease.
With vehicle manufacturers' continuous improvements in fuel efficiency now being swamped by escalating fuel prices, global businesses have to face the reality of increasing costs to their fleet management.
While average diesel prices have soared by a third in the last year, the story is not quite as grim for unleaded petrol - although globally it has still increased on average by 18% since 2007.
Despite the overall increase in fuel prices, the latest research by Masterlease shows some interesting differences between the countries. The most expensive countries to purchase fuel from are the UK, Norway and Sweden, although the price increases over the last year have not been as dramatic as in others.
At the other end of the spectrum, Australia remains the cheapest place to purchase fuel - although over the last twelve months the price of diesel has increased by 33%. However, the country that has endured the biggest price hike is Austria, with diesel prices rising a staggering 42%.
Masterlease carried out the survey in all 17 countries in which it operates to get a true picture of how much fuel is really costing global customers. The research was conducted in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
As well as the global price hikes on fuel, one factor that has a big impact on global fleet fuel bills is the provision of free private fuel to company car drivers. In nine out of the 17 countries, this is a taxed benefit, while in five of the countries surveyed (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Australia), free private fuel is not taxed.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Australia, where as one of the highest emitters of carbon in the world, contributing on average 27.54 tonnes to the atmosphere every year per person, many businesses are looking at measures to compensate by investing in formal carbon offsetting activities.
Nick Brownrigg, CEO of Masterlease Group, commented: "While the fuel issue may not be particularly new, the relative cost of fuel has been the biggest recent talking point in fleet management and it would come top, or close to the top, with every fleet decision maker, wherever they are in the world. As a result, the continuing volatility in fuel prices has emphasised the importance to the fleet industry of effective fuel management and accessibility of information to help control costs at every stage.
"It is important for global businesses to understand exactly how much they are spending on fuel across all of their country operations, so that they can look for cost saving opportunities.
Once there is an understanding about the total fuel bill, businesses should then consult an independent expert to advise them on how to reduce these costs. There are enormous benefits to businesses that can demonstrate efficiency in terms of meeting these challenges. It simply means more effective measurement of MPG, fuel and fleet costs, and to achieve this, businesses need to make fuel management a boardroom issue."
About Masterlease Group
Masterlease is one of the fastest growing funding and vehicle fleet management companies in Europe, offering business to business all makes full service car leasing.
With 15 operations in Europe and plans to expand into other countries, its strong geographic presence and consistent branding enables Masterlease to offer a cohesive service across the Continent. The company manages around 210,000 vehicles.
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