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17 Jun 2009

 

The lives of thousands of UK motorists are intrinsically linked to the roads. The company car driver, the fleet driver, the HGV driver, the commuter and the school-run parent all have a common interest and that is to make those essential journeys as easy as possible.  Businessfuelcards.co.uk now know just how many motorists in the UK think more governmental support is needed for those businesses which depend on travel for their commercial success.

 

Motorists and companies were this week faced with petrol pump prices once again exceeding the £1 litre mark. This drives home the urgency (excuse the pun) to save in other ways where they can, and while motoring groups such as the AA and the RAC call for cuts at the pump, the Department for Transport can help encourage other cost-saving measures on an industrial – and national – level. Achieving cost savings and beating congestion can be dependent on a number of factors and the study showed a widespread awareness that these need to also reflect commercial realities.

 

We recently ran a survey of 1,025 motorists to show how cost-effective commuting might be achieved. We wanted to reflect the many calls for assistance from the government made by companies across the fleet industry who suffered the 2008 fuel rises. The current budget-stretching situation will get steadily worse with further fuel duty rises in September and April over the following four years.

 

More than one in five of our respondents (22 per cent) feel that more could be done by the Government to support businesses for whom travel is essential.

 

Our respondents suggested other ways to cut the cost of commuting, including a more positive approach to home working as well as practical measures to encourage it; flexible working patterns; car sharing; and better public transport networks.

 

It’s clear that motorists everywhere are crying out for ways to make those essential journeys as stress-free, cheap and efficient as possible.

 

The people who took part in our survey were asked to grade a number of proposals for saving fuel, reducing traffic and improving the overall travelling experience – ideas they would most like introduced by the Department of Transport. Unsurprisingly, top of the wish-list was more government and employer-backed initiatives, with 77 per cent of respondents seeking a radical change in attitudes to home working. 

 

In addition, more than three quarters of British motorists told us they want to work from home at least twice a week, cutting fuel consumption and traffic levels and improving overall quality of life. But they also showed how aware they were of their companies’ responsibilities, with many saying that employers should receive tax breaks or other rewards for their involvement.

 

 

More flexible working hours also proved popular, with 63 per cent of participants supporting the idea that earlier and later start and finish times would cut rush hour congestion and even generate petrol savings via less ‘stop-start’ driving. Meanwhile, just under that number (59 per cent) said that a nationally co-ordinated car share campaign, with rewards for individuals and companies taking part, would lower costs and reduce road usage. These incentives could be reduced road tax for regularly participating vehicles.

 

We believe the survey demonstrates how open-minded and sophisticated British drivers are. They are receptive to far-reaching proposals – but also want to be engaged with, consulted and incentivised.

 

Fleet managers pondering how their drivers are affected by congestion should always invest in fuel cards, we suggest. With so much to worry about on a national scale, fleet managers can start small and reduce the administrative costs and headaches which come with traditional fuel purchases. They could benefit from paying bunker prices for their fuel, typically two to three pence lower than pump prices but sometimes as much as six to seven pence cheaper!

 

We believe the results of surveys such as these should encourage policy makers, who might be surprised to find such backing for ‘bold’ ideas as long as they bring positive results.

 

If you have any ideas on how the Department of Transport can help British motorists to save money or just want to rant – and i don’t blame you if you do – post a comment, we’d love to hear from you.

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