VERY EXPENSIVE COMMODITY: Fuel users are going to have to have deep pockets to fill up their cars regularly and fleet managers are going to have earn their pay. Image: Shutterstock
Fuel-efficiency remains the Holy Grail for South African fleet managers with the substantial increase in the fuel levies announced by national finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in his Budget Speech on February 25, 2015.
The increase diminished some of the relief gained by the recent slump in global fuel prices. As the head of Standard Bank's fleet management, David Molapo, said: "The increased levies show how risky it is for fleet managers to become even a little bit complacent about fuel efficiency.”
He was commenting on the overall 80.5c/litre increase in fuel levies.
Nene announced a combination of a 30.5c/litre increase in the general fuel levy and a 50c/litre increase in the Road Accident Fund levy, bringing the total increase in fuel levies to 80.5c/l.
LOW FUEL PRICES
Molapo said: “The increase means fleet managers will be paying R48.30 more to fill a 60-litre fuel tank on fuel levy alone from April 2015. One of the fleets on our fleet management system, eight passenger vehicles, three- to five-years old and with a total of 20 fuel transactions a month will see a fuel cost increase of R697 (7.67%), taking the bill from R9083 to R9780 per month.
“Global oil price fluctuations can be unpredictable so fleet managers cannot bank on continued low fuel prices. Any weakening of our currency might also drive up the cost of local fuel even if oil prices remain low."
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The fuel levy, however, tended to be permanent. "When oil prices recover the squeeze will be even harder,” he added.
Molapo believed the only way for fleet managers to remain competitive was to keep striving for even more fuel-efficiency through all the proven methods: driver training and providing incentives; proper vehicle maintenance; meticulous tyre maintenance; careful route planning and using fit-for-purpose vehicles.
The use of telematics in all of these aspects of fleet management was no longer a luxury, but a necessity, he said.