News

Ultra Low Emission Zone Planned

26 January 2015

The environment and emissions which we create are both topics which are constantly in the news. As we have become aware of our impact on the air through our emissions we have all made changes to try and limit this. A huge move made by Transport For London back in 2008 was to introduce a Low Emission Zone area which covers the majority of London within the M25.

The Low Emission Zone was brought in to encourage people and businesses to tackle their emissions through cleaner vehicles and better practices. Vehicles which pass through the zone have their registration plates scanned and receive a charge if their vehicle is a heavy polluting one – diesel vehicles are most likely to be hit with this charge.

Now, in an attempt to lower the emissions in Central London even further, the Mayor, Boris Johnson, has proposed a new, Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). This would severely limit the kind of vehicles allowed on the roads in certain areas without receiving a penalty charge. The aim is to have zero emission vehicles or ultra low emission vehicles on the road by 2020.

Deaths which are thought to have been brought about by poor air quality are at the centre of these policies but with some areas of London missed out, there are worries that the air pollution levels people are so worried about will still be around. It’s estimated that thousands of deaths could be averted each year simply by improving air quality in one of the most polluted cities in Europe. The chance to voice an opinion on the new proposal closed on January 9th, 2015, but some London boroughs have asked for the plans to be expanded.

Murad Qureshi, Labour’s London Assembly environment spokesperson, has made a plea for the boroughs to be able to be part of the ULEZ if they wish to do so. He claims that although the new zone might lower emissions in the centre of London, it will cause great suffering in other areas.

Cost For Businesses

Unlike the congestion charges, the low emission charges work around the clock, with the possibility of being charged twice if you are driving in the low emission zone between 23:30 and 00:30.

It would seem that there is support for the move from all quarters as a first step towards cleaning up the air within the M25 ring. The fees could be as much as £100 for lorries and coaches, and £12.50 for cars and other small vehicles, but there are fears that this might drive some businesses to consider their options elsewhere in the country.

The balance between cost for companies who have no choice other than to utilise the roads in London and the need for cleaner air, is one which will surely take time to get right. Older vehicles should be replaced and cleaner energy sources will need to be found.

For those fleet operators with vehicles travelling in low emission and congestion zones, one way to try and combat these costs is to invest in a fuelcard scheme, helping to lower fuel costs whether you have two cars or an entire raft or HGVs. Contact us at Onroute Fuel Cards today for more information about how we can help with your fuel costs.

How Your Tyres Impact Fuel Costs

23 December 2014

When running a fleet of vehicles, be it lorries, vans or cars, you want to know that you’ve got the best fuel economy possible. With fuel costs varying around the country and your costs deciding what your margins are, it’s a good idea to have your vehicles in top condition.

A huge factor in how good your vehicles are in terms of fuel economy is your tyres – they account for 20% of your vehicles fuel consumption. Tyres are literally what keep your business moving, but if you fail to maintain them they could be costing you more than necessary. The wear of your tyres on the road directly impacts how hard your engine has to work to keep the vehicle moving, so take a look at our tips for maintaining your tyres to save yourself some money.

Tyre Material

Something which is vitally important to your tyres, but which is often overlooked, is the tyre material. New materials and technology means you can get a variety of tyres with differing fuel economy. Compounds which combine both synthetic and natural materials are thought to be the best, while a cap and base combination help to lower tyre temperatures and reduce resistance.

Tyres have a fuel efficiency rating from A to G with A being the most efficient and G being the least. Rolling resistance – the resistance between the road and the tyre – will obviously have a greater impact the larger the vehicles you use, with the average difference between an A and an F rated tyre being around 80 litres of fuel over a year – the equivalent of more than £100.

Tyre Tread

When it comes to tyre tread, a good rule of thumb is to use a 20p coin and insert it into the tread line, if the rubber does not cover the inner band on the face of the coin then might want to invest in new tyres. While bare tyres are unsafe, your tread depth is at it’s most fuel efficient when the tread is worn – this is because more weight and resistance is added to new tyres. You save roughly 6-7% more on fuel when your tyres are worn up to 80%.

The best course of action is to keep your tyres well maintained and ensure you have a legal and safe amount of tread on your tyres, but be aware that newer tyres might cost more in fuel because they have a deeper tread.

Inflation Levels

The air pressure inside your tyres is vital to the way your tyres grip the road. If you underinflate them they will squash down at the sides, increasing the amount of tyre tread gripping the road and causing extra drag. On the other hand, if you over inflate your tyres they will be raised at the edges and only the centre tread will grip the road, causing uneven wear. Not only does proper inflation of your tyres mean an even wear and longer life, it’s also key to the safety of your vehicles.

Wheel Alignment

When you go over a pot hole or clip a kerb you might not think much of it at the time, allowing your suspension to take care of any rough and tumble your vehicle sees. But if your wheel alignment is put out of place by one of these bumps you could be costing yourself money in terms of fuel. Steering which is out of alignment leads to uneven wear on your tyres, risking safety and raising the price of fuel for that particular vehicle.

Researching the kind of tyres best suited to your vehicles can be a huge help – ask your supplier about materials and tread depths and which will best serve your needs.

If you’ve taken all of this advice on board and want more savings on your fuel costs then look no further than Onroute Fuelcards. We provide fuel cards for fleets to help reduce the cost of fuel – simply contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Cameron Pledges £15bn For Roads

26 November 2014

The roads in the UK have long been vital to the success of the country in doing business and creating opportunities. However, the investment seen going into the roads in Britain has been somewhat lacklustre of late. Now, pledging £15bn worth of investment, Prime Minister David Cameron has raised the bar of expectation.

The money will not be spent on all roads though, with only the most dangerous roads in Britain receiving money for refurbishment. These danger hotspots could see the £15bn invested before the end of the decade. It’s welcome news for drivers and even more welcome for those whose businesses rely on deliveries and swift transportation.

Billed as a “roads revolution”, the hope is that the investment will help to speed up journey times for everyone. With commuters happy to be getting around the country more easily and businesses able to make quicker journeys – it seems like the extra miles of lane promised by the current government would be a popular move with all motorists.

The work would be spread around the country, but one of the most bizarre plans for the use of this money relates to a possible tunnel to run underneath the Stonehenge heritage site to alleviate the clogging congestion seen on the A303. The reason this seems so strange to many is due to the announcement earlier this year of the discovery of other major sites under the land surrounding Stonehenge, thought by archaeologists to be religious monuments.

It won’t just be people in the South who benefit from the investment however, with Newcastle touted to have work on the A1, stretches of road in the Pennines, the A47 in the East and parts of the A27 on the south coast all due to have major works performed to bring them up to scratch.

David Cameron claims that these areas, with roads so outdated that they cause huge delays and accidents, are holding the country back from its potential. But those with a cynical eye will point out that this investment is only now coming as we head into an election year, casting doubt over the motives for the money to be spent in such a way.

There are some fears that the promise might not be as firm as it first appears though, with spending cuts to follow the elections next year. If the tories retained control in parliament, the £15bn investment could, rather conveniently, be cut from the budget. The reason for these doubts echo the failure of Margaret Thatcher to come good on a similar promise in 1989.

The bad weather could also have an impact on the amount of money put forward in such plans, with winter repair bills always putting a dent in the government spend. Snow, ice and rain could all cause trouble for roads and the highway agency, leaving less money for major investment.

Here at Onroute Fuelcards we can’t impact the standards of the roads, but we can offer reduced fuel costs for your fleet with our fuel cards. Simply contact us today to find out more information.

Health And Safety For Fleet Drivers

26 October 2014

For a company with fleet drivers there is nothing more important than health and safety for their team. Whether you have a couple of company cars or you operate a haulage fleet, there is a responsibility for you and your drivers to ensure that health and safety standards are impeccable. Not only will you save money, more importantly, you will save lives. Remember, a reputation as a safe, road-friendly company can do your public image the world of good without spending a penny on PR.

Here are some of the key things your drivers should be thinking about at all times when working.

Are you fit to drive?

A great deal of responsibility falls on the shoulders of your drivers. Their mental state is key to their driving ability, if they are inhibited in any way they can present a huge danger out on the road. It should go without saying that no driver should be in any way intoxicated as it is illegal and deadly.

Something which might not be taken into account by your drivers is injuries they are  carrying. Do they have back pains? Have they sustained physical injury? If you drivers aren’t at their optimum it can infringe upon their ability to drive. Never let your drivers out on the road and implore them to consider their condition themselves.

Has the vehicle been checked?

Drivers will not always be driving the same vehicle each day, so it’s important they check the vehicle over before attempting to drive it. While it may have been left in good condition when it was last driven some, things can deteriorate over night.

Tyre pressure, tread levels, lights, fuel level, windscreen wipers and fluids – all of these basic things should be checked before a driver sets off. Finding out that the wipers don’t work, or realising that the fuel tank is almost empty once you’re out on the M1 in the pouring rain can be a disaster.

Always take the weather into account

Even experienced drivers can make mistakes but these can be costly. Your drivers need to be aware of the road conditions and weather plays a huge part in this. You should never accept complacency; if the conditions are icy then everyone must take care out on the roads. Make sure your drivers are fully prepared for whatever the conditions may be – even hot weather can impact driving conditions.

Are you sitting comfortably?

For many drivers it can be tempting to jump in the drivers seat and get going, but are they really sitting comfortably? As mentioned previously, injuries can be costly and the positioning in the driving seat can be vital to comfortable journeying.

Drivers also need to factor in their ability to see mirrors correctly and reach the pedals without strain. It takes only a few minutes to make these adjustments but they can save lives and prevent injuries.

Have you had proper training?

No one should be allowed out on the road without proper fleet training. While everyone should have a license, there are different vehicles which require different training; you can even get safety specific training courses to ensure your drivers are all on the same page. Drivers themselves should always question whether they are qualified to drive a particular vehicle, informing their superior if they think they require additional training.

If you operate a fleet of vehicles and have safety measures in place then you might want to think about fuelcards for your drivers. This will ensure that drivers always have enough fuel and allows you to make savings as a company. Simply contact Onroute Fuelcards today for more information or to discuss your needs.

5 fuel saving tips for your fleet

26 September 2014

We all know how much the cost of fuel has risen in recent years, and there is still a slightly nervous market out there. Prices haven’t fallen but the hikes did push some companies over the brink when fuel reached peak rates.

To minimise the damage done to your fuel budget, you might benefit from our top five fuel saving tips if you own a fleet of vehicles. Whether you own 20 HGVs or a handful of cars, our tips can help reduce your fuel bills to save you from the worry of high fuel prices.

Tyres, Tyres, Tyres

You’ll see this advice in countless places and people are always giving advice about tyres, but the fact is that regardless of what vehicle you drive, the condition of your tyres can impact heavily on your fuel economy as well as your vehicle safety.

The tread of your tyres should be carefully monitored and checked by the driver of the vehicle on a daily basis. The same goes for the air pressure in the tyres; this needs to be at the tyre manufacturer’s guideline optimum to help reduce the resistance of the the tyre and increase the fuel efficiency.

Don’t abuse the A/C

A huge drain on your fuel is the air-conditioning, it’s one extra strain that the engine doesn’t need if you can do without it. Obviously in the sweltering summer conditions it’s far more preferable to driving down the motorway with the windows down, but past mid-August it’s highly unlikely to be needed. The less you use the A/C function in any vehicle the less fuel you’ll burn up, making significant savings.

Check the standard of driving

In any fleet you’ll want to have only the best people driving your vehicles, representing your company and ensuring high standards of safety out on the roads. The standard of driving can have a huge impact on the amount of fuel you use, with drivers who take more care in their speed for a smoother drive conserving more fuel than those who speed and drive recklessly.

If you have too many drivers to assess individually, make sure you stress the importance of good driving to them. Impress upon them how important safety and fuel economy is and follow up on any complaints or speeding issues which arise.

Locate the cheapest fuel

A seemingly obvious tip, but one which many people don’t seem to think about, fuel is priced differently at every town and almost every station. Knowing where fuel is cheapest can build up vital savings if you only need to go down the road from where you usually fill up. Fuel cards also help you to make huge savings on fleet fuel costs, and here at Onroute Fuelcards we can provide fuel cards which can save you between 2p and 8p per litre depending on pump prices.

Source aerodynamic vehicles

While no one can expect you to invest in a new fleet of vehicles on a whim, whenever you are upgrading your vehicles or adding new vehicles to your fleet then consider aerodynamics. Aerodynamic properties can help lower resistance when driving and save you a tidy sum on fuel – this is great news for the environment, as well as your pocket. If the more aerodynamic vehicles are slightly more expensive then consider it an investment, one which will no doubt pay for itself in due course.

If you’d like to learn more about how much fuelcards from Onroute Fuelcards can save you, then contact our professional team today.

How fuel cards are benefiting fleets

21 August 2014

A recent survey carried out on fuel cards has presented some interesting results in terms of how fleet companies utilise fuel cards and what the main benefits are. The most obvious benefits are the savings made, and over half of the companies surveyed who used fuel cards put this as their main benefit of having a fuel card for their operations.

But looking beyond this initial monetary saving has presented a clearer idea of just what the benefits are. The reporting and mileage capture features of fuel cards were lauded by companies as greatly beneficial for administration within the business. This is understandable as for any company operating with more than a single vehicle it is important to keep track of how far a vehicle has travelled and how much fuel has been used. These statistics prove handy for a company as they look to improve their business and calculate the time and money put into day to day operations.

The benefit of controlled purchases for a fleet was also lauded most of all after savings and administration benefits, with secure payments voted for as the main benefit by 3% of the companies who use fuel cards. Single monthly invoicing and improved cash flow gained 7.2% and 9.5% of the votes respectively, proving that there are a range of benefits available to a company using fuel cards aside from the obvious benefit of saving money.

These weren’t the only surprising statistics to come out of the survey however as it was revealed that 42.6% of companies questioned do not use fuel cards. One hurdle which prevents some companies are the credit issues but more than half of those without the fuel cards admitted that they had no idea of the benefits of fuel cards. It’s an amazing statistic which highlights a lack of information on the issue, with many companies spending more than they need to without fuel cards and missing out on the administrative benefits.

Another surprising statistic thrown up when surveying those who do employ the use of fuel cards is that 30.5% of the companies don’t review their provider on a regular basis. This means that they could be missing out on a further 5% saving when combined with forethought on where to fill up according to the publishers of the survey.

Clearly there are more savings to be made whether you have a fuel card or not, and part of the savings comes, not only from admin and singularity when purchasing fuel, but from the reviewing of fuel card providers. With a little extra attention, some companies could find a better deal and could advise their drivers where the cheapest place to buy fuel is.

Here at Onroute Fuelcards we provide fuel cards for companies whether they use petrol or diesel, we also help large fleet companies as well as the smaller ones too. So whether you have a raft of lorries or just a couple of company cards then come to us to find out how you can save money using a fuel card. Our friendly team will also explain all of the other benefits available to you as well so you can make an informed choice.

Welcome to our new blog!

04 July 2014

Here at Onroute Fuel Cards we are delighted to introduce you to our brand new blog!

Committed to exceptional levels of customer care, we believe our blog provides us with the perfect platform to update our clients on everything fuel card related! From important company news to changes within the industry or new regulations which may affect the running of your business, we will make sure you’re in the loop with monthly articles dedicated to keeping you informed.

Whether you run a large fleet of commercial vans or a few company cars, if you have a fuel card account with us, or are just interested in the fuel card industry, our blog is the ideal place to obtain as much information as possible.

Simply check back each month for all the latest news and updates from the professionals here at Onroute Fuel Cards!