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TWO conjoining features are beginning to hit business motoring to push up costs.

First is the move away from fuel efficient diesels to petrol cars, increasing fuel costs to business.

The second is the increasing cost of fuel.

First the move to petrol cars. April 2018 new car registrations saw demand for petrol cars grew in April, up 38.5%, while diesel registrations continued a recent trend, declining -24.9%.

Second, official UK government average retail fuel price figures released on May 22 showed diesel averaging £1.30 per litre across the country and petrol £1.26. The highest for three years.

Mobility data analysis company TMC suggests this is akin to a ‘fuel cost double whammy’ for SME business motoring and small fleets.

Paul Hollick, Managing Director of TMC, said:

“The trend away from diesel in favour of thirstier petrol cars could not be happening at a worse time.

“Analysis of ‘real-world’ fuel costs from TMC’s fuel and mileage capture recently showed that the real cost gap between diesel and petrol is much wider than many people realise.

“Our data for 7,000 fleet cars last autumn showed that the diesels were on average 38% more efficient than petrol equivalents.

“Even allowing for the fact that petrol is still cheaper at the pumps, our data showed that diesel drivers spent 30% less per mile on fuel than drivers of petrol versions of the same cars. Diesels also retained their cost advantage for the employer over petrol in nearly every case when benefit in kind tax and NICs are factored-in, despite the 4% company car tax surcharge.”

Hollick added that last time UK fuel prices were on this trajectory was in 2011. But at that time the shift to diesel was in full swing and car fleets saw a steady improvement in economy to offset the impact of the high oil price from 2011 to 2014.

“It’s a very different picture today, with worsening new-car fuel economy magnifying the effect of increasing oil and road fuel prices. We urge fleets and business motorists to look carefully at the cost implications of their fuel choices. It’s understandable that business drivers want to choose petrol in the present climate of opinion but the real-world costs of their choice may come as a shock to them and their company,” said Hollick.

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