6th - 7th October 2020
NEC, Birmingham

Fleet managers urged to "think again" about diesel choices


David Rawlings, Director of BCF Wessex.

Fleet managers are being urged to “think again” about their fleet policy and reconsider traditional assumptions about vehicle choices.

To reduce costs businesses should review the make-up of their fleets to assess the impact of recent market changes on their future choice lists, according to David Rawlings, director of BCF Wessex.

A key area of focus is the role of diesels, as the fuel’s traditional wholelife cost advantage is being eroded, he said.

Wholelife costs for diesels are being affected by the additional cost of fitting the latest emission reduction technology, a fall in used car values in the wake of ‘Dieselgate’,  negative messages from politicians and the media about the fuel, and diesel typically being more expensive at the pump.

At the same time, increasingly efficient petrol, and hybrid, alternatives are starting to match diesel fuel efficiency, both in the test cycle and during real-world use.

Across a range of models, improved diesel alternatives have more competitive wholelife costs, while reduced emissions are also cutting driver’s tax bills.

Rawlings said: “You hear frequently that high mileage drivers should be in diesels, but as that perception is being questioned we are urging fleets to challenge their assumptions. They need to review their fleet costs now in the face of a changing market, find out exactly what their fleet costs are and understand the effect of changing.”

BCF Wessex has carried out a series of comparisons using its Gensen wholelife cost software, which includes driver taxation, and the results increasingly point to petrol and petrol-electric hybrids being the fleet choice of the future.

The comparisons highlighted that for many popular company cars, petrol models incur lower wholelife costs and lower tax bills for drivers compared to equivalent diesels. Interestingly, in many scenarios PHEVs, are more cost effective than both their petrol and diesel counterparts and also deliver significant income tax savings for drivers, although there are still reservations about the published fuel consumption for these models. 

Rawlings has urged fleet managers to be proactive and encouraged a different approach to keep their fleets cost efficient. 

He said: “This market is changing more quickly now than I have seen in the past 30 years, and changes in technology will radically change the face of fleets. Businesses need to be more prepared to adapt and embrace these fundamental changes.”

Rawlings will be providing detailed guidance to fleets and finance departments about managing costs during Fleet Management LIVE on October 3-4 at the NEC in Birmingham. For details, view the online agenda here.