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BY: SEAN CONNAUGHTON

As more businesses look for ways to reduce costs and inefficiencies, many are turning to fuel cards as more fleet managers and finance directors become aware of the many benefits that using fuel cards bring. With fuel reaching an 8 year high* fuel cards can be a useful addition to any business that relies on their vehicles in order  to operate smoothly and efficiently. But that said, what is it that makes fuel cards a better and more helpful alternative compared to not using them? Operating a fleet requires seamless organisation and efficiency and using fuel cards facilitates easier management of those requirements.

Discounted & fixed price fuel
Fuel cards usually offer discounted prices from the national average pump price. The price is also consistent across the UK and can mean significant financial savings. Most offer fixed weekly prices which allow you to budget your costs more effectively. Although price fluctuations are inevitable, fuel cards can help you control the costs of your  business expenses by giving you insight into how much fuel each driver is using.

Less administrative burden
With a fuel card, the financial benefits can be more than simply discounted fuel. This is because, when you have a fuel card, you don’t pay at the pump. Instead, all fuel costs for a given week are collected into one  single invoice, which is then taken out as a single direct debit payment. This means you’ll be spending far less time tracking and collating expense forms to figure out exactly who paid for what. Hundreds of individual transactions are compiled into one neat invoice instead of manually trying to wrangle multiple documents into one  tidy and readable report. You will be able to see what vehicle has filled up where, what type of fuel, the cost and when it was filled up. With fuel cards, you can say goodbye to having to chase employees for details and hoping that they still have their receipts.

Increased Security for
Your Peace of Mind Keeping your business  secure is crucial, whether that’s by extending a duty of care to your employees or protecting your business from fraud. Assigning fuel cards to your drivers is a much safer alternative to carrying cash. All fuel cards operate on a PIN style system – a bit like a credit or debit card, to keep all payments secure. This will make the driver  feel more secure, and, as an employer, it gives you a much greater sense of security to know that only your driver can access that card and make a fuel payment on it. Fuel cards can also help eliminate any fraudulent transactions where expenses are being claimed that aren’t necessarily used for company purposes by fleet drivers.

Tracking mileage and fuel usage for your fleet
Fuel cards are more than just an efficient way to pay for your fuel. In combination with your provider’s fleet management software, they’re also a great way to monitor your fleet, such as the routes they drive, their mileage per gallon, and where and how often they’re stopping. This is a great way of finding out how and where you can make cutbacks or improve efficiency for longer-term business savings. For example, if you can spot patterns which correlate to fuel savings or you notice one vehicle is making lots of inefficient short journeys, you can bear this in mind for future planning.

It is much easier for the  employee
There are many benefits for the employee as well. For health and safety reasons, a fuel card is obviously safer to carry about than large amounts of cash, but also, it removes them from being accused of any wrongdoings from the employer. Your staff won’t have to worry about keeping receipts or writing down exactly how  much fuel they’ve purchased – everything is tracked through the provider’s portal, and it’s all accounted for on the invoice, which will be produced to strict HMRC standards.

There is not just one fuel card out there – there is such a huge variety to choose from that have all been designed with different fleets in mind. Using fuel cards gives business fleets more flexibility for refuelling across a huge network. Sometimes plans and routes change and the ability to use a fuel card across networks gives your drivers the freedom to adjust their route as necessary. It is important to select the right card for your business, so you can be sure that you are getting the  best price on fuel.

So whether you have HGV fleets, van fleets, car fleets or a mixture of all three, we are confident that Auditel will be able to help you find the best fuel card for your business.