Technology Is Critical To Limiting Impact Of Fuel Prices On Businesses

Spiralling petrol price increases which are set to hit Britain’s businesses with a multi-million pound headache in 2011 can be offset by the deployment of technology, leading telematics provider Trimble MRM said today.

The increase in fuel duty of 0.76p per litre of petrol which took effect last week could have a significant impact on businesses, especially those with fleets, lorries or company vehicles.

The tax rise comes on top of rampant increases in fuel prices, with a litre of unleaded petrol in the UK now costing on average 124.16p, and diesel charged at 128.35p*. A year ago the respective prices were 107.74p and 109.46p*.

Andrew Yeoman, managing director of Trimble MRM in the UK, a leading supplier of corporate in-vehicle telematics technology, said that despite the critical situation, companies can offset the rises by deploying telematics technology, which can make vehicles more productive and efficient reducing fuel use by “up to 30 per cent”.

“Companies are bracing themselves for an expensive year at the pumps. What’s more, many pundits are predicting a further fuel duty rise in April,” Yeoman commented.

“There are ways to limit the impact of the crisis. Understanding where fuel is being lost or unnecessarily wasted is crucial. The latest telematics software, for example, can help to reduce unnecessary driving, improve fuel efficiency, and can be used to prevent fuel fraud.”

Trimble’s technology enables companies to monitor fuel consumption, mpg and CO2 outputs, helping reduce fuel use and improving a company’s carbon footprint.

The company recently introduced DriverSafety, an advanced telematics solution that allows businesses to monitor driver behaviour, including speeding and harsh breaking. With this data at hand, managers can make recommendations on training for individual drivers.

Another benefit of DriverSafety is its ability to monitor for possible fuel fraud, with an electronic key fob – or ‘iButton’ – used to link drivers to specific vehicles. The iButton identifies where, when and how fuel is purchased for a vehicle and can identify whether it’s being used for work purposes.

“Technology can be beneficial to show how economical a driver or vehicle is, which is vital in helping companies optimise their usage of fuel,” added Yeoman.

“Fuel cards and mileage logs that companies routinely deploy are at best problematic and open to human error or abuse. The key to achieving fuel savings is in the supply of real-time data from fleet vehicles and their drivers.”

Recent research from Trimble found that 85 percent of fleet managers believe fuel efficiency is the biggest challenge facing their businesses. The survey showed businesses are keen to respond to the threats posed by fuel price increases by finding ways to make fleets more fuel efficient, especially by reviewing vehicle use and monitoring driver behaviour.

* Source: Experian Catalist

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