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Unlocking the Value of Fuel Cards
Philip Williams, head of Shell Commercial Fleet UK
In the road transport business, fleet investments and vehicle operating expenses – such as fuel, maintenance and administration – account for the majority of costs. Keeping vehicles and their engines in top condition for as long as possible is therefore very important, as is minimising vehicle fuel consumption and the time required for managing suppliers.
Fuel cards can play a significant role in addressing these challenges – not only in isolation, but also by unlocking access to a host of other products and services designed to work in concert to help reduce operating costs and increase fleet efficiency. Ultimately, the secret to getting the most out of a fuel card is therefore to select a supplier based on both the strength of its card and its associated offerings.
Choosing a supplier
From a fuel card-specific perspective, road transport operators should primarily look for a supplier that not only offers cashless payment for services and fuel on the road, but also generates clear reports that offer transparency in fuel transactions, and has systems to help identify and prevent fraudulent activities.
The euroShell Card, for example, has PIN technology in the UK to help fight fraud. Shell Card Online also allows operators to set up customisable alerts to identify fraudulent activities, provides secure online invoicing, and has a dedicated Fraud Team of security experts.
What to look for
As far as associated services are concerned, amongst the main offerings to look for are access to high quality fuel, and integration with a strong telematics system. These products can help generate notable fuel savings.
With heavy-duty engines, for example, internal tests have shown that Shell FuelSave Diesel can help save fuel by up to three per cent over the lifetime of the vehicle, compared to regular diesel without fuel economy formula. Customer trials have confirmed these results and in some cases, higher fuel savings were achieved.
Shell FuelSave Partner
Furthermore, Shell’s fuel management system, Shell FuelSave Partner, could help generate fuel savings of up to 10 per cent through monitoring, analysis and driver behaviour coaching. These savings can only be fully realised when used with the right card. The importance of a robust holistic review of fuel card suppliers prior to selection should therefore not be underestimated.