Our strategic partner Towergate Insurance have recently been in touch with us regarding the rising cost of fuel and have provided some tips on things you can do to help reduce these costs.
Using vehicles for work during the fuel increase crisis
Home care agency workers often use their own cars when they are out delivering care within their communities. Although potentially easier and more cost effective to both your organisation and staff themselves, there can also be some insurance implications that should be discussed and understood.
Employers owe a duty of care under the health and safety law to ensure that the risks of driving at work are managed under an effective system. It is therefore important that you have procedures in place to ensure that the vehicles used by your employees conform to the road traffic laws and are safe and properly maintained.
The rising cost of fuel
Whilst fuel prices often fluctuate, recently the increase has been consistent and even the usually competitive supermarket prices are also rising at an alarming rate, but by making a few changes to driving style you may be able to reduce some of the costs. As at 26/07/22, according to Government figures, prices at the pumps were on average, 186.67p per litre for unleaded petrol and 195.91p per litre for diesel.1
The increase in fuel costs seen at the petrol forecourts is primarily due to the increased cost and global demand of a barrel of crude oil. Oil prices have been rising steadily as consumers’ lives returns to normal after the COVID-19 lockdown periods, but also since the start of the Russian – Ukraine war and with the continuing global unrest, prices have rocketed.
Even after the Government confirmed that they were cutting the fuel duty by 5p per litre, the average cost of a litre of fuel is still over 20% more than it was in January 2022.2
This price increase will not only hit the personal pockets of drivers, but the running costs of all companies using vehicles. With such price increases, companies will have no choice but to pass the costs onto consumers, which will see further rises in expenditure for everyone.
Things you can do to reduce costs
The way that we drive has a massive effect on how much fuel our vehicle uses. Heavy braking, rapid acceleration, sharp turns, and certain gear usage can lead to you using considerably more fuel than you need to. Adopting good driving habits will help to make the drive smoother and less strenuous on the engine, leading to less wear on the vehicle and of course, big savings on fuel.
With fuel representing a significant area of expense, a small improvement in driver attitude and driving style can significantly improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.
Here are some tips that may help you to reduce your fuel consumption:
Accelerate gently, brake softly, maintain space from vehicle in front.
STEP OFF THE ACCELERATOR
When slowing down or driving downhill, remain in gear but take your foot off the accelerator as early as possible.
CHANGE GEAR EARLY
Shift to higher gear early, usually by around 2,000-2,500 revs per minute (RPM).
e.g., 3rd to 5th or 4th to 6th when appropriate.
High speeds greatly increase fuel consumption.
TURN OFF/AVOID IDLING
Turn off your engine if you expect to be stationary for more than a minute or so.
Remove racks, roof boxes and bike carriers when not in use, they significantly increase air resistance and fuel consumption at higher speeds.
REMOVE EXCESS WEIGHT
Empty your boot, reduce excess weight from your vehicle.
Book a service for your vehicle regularly to maintain engine efficiency. Make sure you use the right engine oil, and your tyre pressures are correct.
Plan any journeys you do made beforehand as you’ll do fewer miles and save more money.
Towergate are the preferred insurance provider of the Hertfordshire Care Providers Association and can provide help and advice including which type of policy meets your needs as a care provider.
As a Hertfordshire Care Providers Association member, you have access to a dedicated insurance specialist who is on hand to discuss the above or any other insurance and risk management related topics. If you would be interested in finding out more about their services click here.