Managing fuel spend on your vans

What van driver doesn't want to spend less on fuel?

Especially if you're running a fleet of vans, or covering long distances, small reductions in fuel use can have a big effect. The government's Energy Saving Trust estimates that a fleet of five Ford Transit Connect vans, each covering 15,000 miles a year and doing 40mpg, could save £995 a year by cutting their fuel consumption by 10 per cent. For a fleet of 200 vans, the figure is £39,800.

So how can you improve your fuel consumption?

Downsize. Smaller vans generally deliver better fuel economy. If you have large vans but only need them occasionally, it may be better to downsize and just hire a large van on the occasions you need it. You may find you can reduce the load bay size you need by fitting space-efficient storage in your vans or storing items you rarely need at your premises instead. Side doors, folding passenger seats and load-through bulkheads can maximise smaller vans' carrying abilities.

As the trust points out, however, different vehicles perform better in different circumstances, so when choosing a van, you need to look at the type of driving your team do as well as overall fuel economy. “Lower-powered engines are most suitable for town and B-road driving, while a slightly more powerful engine may be more economical on motorways. Use the most relevant fuel consumption figure rather than the combined figure when comparing vehicles,” it says. Look for engines with start-stop technology too – the trust estimates that it could save you hundreds of pounds a year.

Better driving can also be important. The more strain you put on the engine, for example by constantly braking and accelerating hard, the more fuel you'll use. Telematics can help – the mere fact that they know they're being monitored often encourages drivers to be more careful. Speed limiters are another possibility: Ford demonstrated that a Transit 260 or 280 used 19 per cent less fuel at 60mph than 70mph.

And finally, cutting mileage will obviously cut the amount of fuel you use. Reducing the amount of driving your team do could even mean you need fewer vans, further cutting your costs.

Fuel cards

Fuel cards are a way of paying for fuel which you can give to your drivers to use instead of cash or credit or debit cards. The driver presents the card to the cashier, and the company is billed directly.

A variety of companies offer fuel cards, including fuel companies and the RAC. They can be useful from a tax point of view, as most systems can produce a single invoice listing all your transactions which you can send to HMRC to claim your fuel VAT back – so you don't need fuel receipts. They should also provide transaction reports, so you can look at how much fuel particular vehicles or drivers are using, and be PIN protected so the card can't be used if it is stolen. Some include other features, like driving licence checks.

At Vanwise Group, we have a wide variety of highly economical used vans for sale – and our van contract hire and van financedeals make them even easier to afford. Call us at our Kent dealership on 01622 233151 or our Essex dealership on 01279 216163 to book a test drive.