Tyre firms praise fuel duty decision
Bridgestone and Kwik-Fit Fleet have responded positively to the Government’s decision not to increase fuel duty. Commenting yesterday on the reversal of the planned hike announced in the Budget, Bridgestone UK communications manager Andrew Dingley said “today’s announcement that the planned increase in fuel duty has been dropped is welcome news for motorists at a time of austerity. The 1p a litre, plus inflation, fuel duty escalator, which was due to take effect on April 1st, would have added as much as 5p a litre at the pumps. Intervening now to block a further fuel price increase is a sensible move and will go some way to easing the strain on motorists and businesses that rely on transportation.
“As oil prices continue to rise, due to uncertainty in the Middle East further fuel price increases are likely in the future and for many motorists and businesses, these rising costs are becoming increasingly difficult to absorb,” Dingley added. “The coalition Government had little choice but to scrap the planned fuel duty increase now in order to keep costs at the pumps as low as possible, for as long as possible.”
Businesses are, Kwik-Fit Fleet adds, breathing a sigh of relief after Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne axed the duty – yet it notes that the cost pressures facing organisations “remain immense.” However, despite diesel prices rising 20 per cent in the last year and petrol 15 per cent, sales director Peter Lambert says there is much fleet operators and company vehicles drivers can do to mitigate the impact of fuel costs on operating budgets.
“The Chancellor’s Budget decision not to press ahead with the 1p above inflation rise in fuel duty that would have added almost 5p to the price of a litre of petrol and diesel is welcome even though pump prices remain exceptionally high,” Lambert reflected. “But with continuing uncertainty in the main oil producing region of the Middle East and North Africa no respite in the relentless rise can be expected.
“Similarly, with tyre prices increasing at unprecedented levels it is essential that fleet chiefs and drivers regularly check that tyres are correctly inflated and employees adopt an eco-friendly driving style to maximise fuel usage and tyre life thereby ensure operating budgets remain under control,” he added. “If drivers are educated to look after their vehicle tyres in accordance with best practice and other straight-forward advice is followed to keep costs in check, then fleet operational budgets will not escalate out of control. Indeed, most if not all of the cost pressures can be offset through good management and the communication of ‘top tips’ to drivers.”
Top amongst these top tips is maintaining correct tyre pressure. Quoting industry data, Kwik-Fit Fleet points out that incorrectly inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by up to ten per cent, while under-inflated tyres reduce tyre mileage (20 per cent under-inflation can cut tyre life by up to 30 per cent). Over-inflated tyres also wear quicker and are more susceptible to impact damage. Other Kwik-Fit Fleet cost-saving tips include keeping to the posted speed limit and filling tyres with nitrogen instead of air.