Van operators, along with the wider road transport industry, continue to feel the pinch from rising running costs. It will come as no surprise that fuel is the biggest culprit, with fuel bills responsible for up to 30% of all operating costs for fleets and individual van operators – irrespective of the type of load or length of journey.

This isn’t exactly new news. Fuel costs have steadily risen over the past decade, but it does beg the question that if managing these costs remains one of the most pressing challenges for all light commercial operators, what can be done to help, especially against the backdrop of an increasingly challenging economic environment?

Van users keen to manage rising fuel costs must get to grips with exactly how fuel is used, following the simple logic that if you can measure it, you can manage it.

FORS has released a new fuel management guide to help its members make these fuel savings, highlighting how van operators can set up a fuel management policy, and listing advice on which procedures to put in place to monitor fuel consumption and emissions.

The guide shows how to appoint a ‘fuel and emissions champion’ to help implement a culture of ‘fuel mindfulness’. It also offers advice on how to purchase fuel to ensure efficiency, how to monitor fuel use through telematics, how to store fuel correctly, and gives practical advice for drivers to help reduce engine idling.

In addition, the organisation has recently launched a fuel card service called FORS Fuel Expert, which gives members access to a range of discounted fuel cards, providing savings of up to 4p per litre off the national average pump price and up to 10p per litre off motorway prices.

Improving fuel efficiency on every journey to reduce running costs and lessen environmental impact is an ongoing job and one that requires long-term investment in improving best practice. We cannot control the price of fuel, but with careful measurement and knowledge of how fuel is used, real savings can be made. Knowledge really is power, and small changes can add up to bigger cost savings. Proof that such an approach can work is found in the statistic that in 2018 FORS Gold members reported a 14% year-on-year improvement in mpg performance (mpg improvements drawn from 138 case studies).

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