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80% of SME business operations are vehicle dependent, so any increase in fuel duty will be a blow for the UK’s already hard-pressed firms

VAN operators battling to control costs could be in for another blow if the 3p increase in fuel duty planned for September is confirmed in this week’s Budget.

This would mean a rise of as much as £4000 a year for SMEs running around 20 vans

This would mean a rise of as much as £4000 a year for SMEs running a small fleet of around 20 vans, according to Lex Autolease, the UK’s largest fleet management provider, whose figures show fuel costs will rocket by £300 a month.

The figures are drawn from the average SME business size fleet, with vans routinely clocking up 30,000 miles annually.

According to a report by the Federation of Small Businesses, 80% of small company operations are vehicle dependent, so any increase in fuel duty will put more strain on the country’s already beleaguered firms.

But businesses need to keep careful control of their costs. Chris Chandler, principal consultant at Lex Autolease, told Business Vans: “While it is important to keep an eye on the prices at the pump, companies need to focus on factors that they can control to minimise costs and offset the rise in fuel duty, such as carefully monitoring driver behaviour.

He said van operators had to take proactive steps to ensure drivers were given fuel-efficient vehicles, taught how to drive them efficiently, and plan their routes effectively. Fuel-efficient driving techniques would not only reduce fuel costs but also increase safety and lower maintenance and repair costs.

See: Van managers failing to control fuel costs

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