Fuel prices have been increasing rapidly over the last several months. Just one event or change can cause prices to spike or plummet. Volatility will continue in the fuel market as much as it does in the stock market, which can keep whoever is managing your fleet’s fuel program up at night.
Fuel prices have been relatively stable over the last several months as supply isn’t diminishing enough and demand isn’t exactly booming either. However, as time has shown, fuel prices are extremely unpredictable. It just takes one event or change, and prices can spike or plummet. Volatility will continue in the fuel market as much as it does in the stock market, which can keep whoever is managing your fleet’s fuel program up at night.
Fleet Managers can be certain of one thing; fuel price volatility. Fuel prices have been on a roller coaster that has recently been climbing after several months of significant declines. Volatility will continue into the foreseeable future which makes a Fleet Manager’s job even more difficult. Managing fuel costs to the annual budget set months ago is nearly impossible.
There are loyal consumers that will only buy a Chevy, Ford, Mack, Freightliner or International. The loyalty usually comes from favorable experience, thus making them a vocal proponent of their product often boasting that fact with the donning of a hat or t-shirt with the manufactures logo on it. I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of fuel card companies’ hats or t-shirts being sported by their clients. Fuel cards aren’t cool. There’s nothing exciting about them. They’re a necessity for effective fleet fuel management. But, just like your favorite truck, there are differences from one fuel card to another. Each one is best suited for a particular situation based on how it will be utilized.
Many companies have determined that locating a bulk fuel tank in their own yard provides the most cost-effective method for their fleet fueling requirements. Bulk tanks certainly come with insurance and environmental challenges, but they can be overcome with careful planning. It’s also costly to purchase and install a bulk tank, but significant net savings may be achieved compared to alternative fleet fueling options assuming your tank doesn’t “leak.”
What is more economical for your fleet, a purchasing card (P-card) or a fuel card? It depends on the situation and the makeup of your fleet. Are you purchasing gas or diesel, or perhaps both? Are you a local fleet or traveling over-the-road? Class 8 tractors or pickup trucks? Do you need to report information to IFTA or track transactions for other reasons?
Do the holiday sales have you racing from store to store for those special money saving sales?