As countries globally grappled with the cost-of-living crisis, brought on in large parts by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing conflict in Europe, businesses and consumers have had to rethink how and what they spend their money on. This has led to Governments both locally and abroad implementing tax relief to offset some of the costs people have been facing.
In March 2022, the Australian government acted by announcing a temporary, six-month tax cut to lower fuel prices. However, with the excise expiring in October and full taxes on fuel being reapplied, there’s no clear end in sight for business owners when it comes to rising fuel costs. For businesses, particularly those who operate fleets, the financial burden could prove significant. This has led them to examine what can be done to ease the associated costs.
Whether it’s a small business with a handful of vehicles or a large operation with hundreds or thousands in their fleet, the decisions they make now could have a profound impact on their bottom line.
As WEX’s new Vice President for fleet business across the Asia Pacific region I understand that the rising cost of vehicle ownership, unpredictable fuel prices and emerging technologies means fleet customers need solutions now more than ever to help them simplify their operations.
A flexible approach to fuel price management is key
One important step is to incorporate flexibility into operating models because so much of what affects fuel prices is outside of a business’ control. This will allow organanisations to quickly adapt as gas prices rise and fall, natural disasters strike, or pandemics hit.
And it is innovation and the adoption of technological tools that are at the heart of this flexibility. ACCC research, for example, encouraged customers to shop around and continue to look at information about price cycles in capital cities and consult fuel price apps and websites to compare petrol prices. The ACCC’s analysis shows that motorists should adopt a flexible approach to fuel suppliers using the real time data available from these apps to ensure getting the best deal possible. These apps can not only save individuals money but also businesses operating fleets.
The WEX Motorpass Driver App, for example, allows fleet vehicle drivers and employees in sectors including construction, retail, manufacturing, and transport to find the best fuel prices closest to them - in realtime and at the touch of a button.
The case for EVs
With fuel prices set to remain considerably lofty, companies operating fleets would do well to consider a model of adopting electric vehicles – running mixed fleets to begin with and having a long-term goal of going fully electrical. This trend is already beginning to take shape. In fact, worldwide, electric vehicles (EVs) are in higher demand than ever before. In May 2022 it was reported that 52% of consumers worldwide seek out EVs, according to the latest EV Mobility Consumer Index (MCI), a spike from 30% just two years ago.
Moving forward as an industry in transitioning to EV
Transitioning to an EV fleet isn’t an overnight fix. The shift from pumping traditional fuel to charging an electric vehicle requires a new type of tracking: one that allows fleet managers to account for charging costs from various public and private chargers. Solutions are in place today that allow businesses to pay for public charging and technologies are evolving to offer a seamless experience for the management of mixed fleets.
It is important that businesses source the right technologies and find innovative ways to monitor and reduce their gasoline expenses. This includes apps that allow drivers to find the cheapest fuel closest to them and tools and resources that allow for the most effective and efficient path to EV adoption.
Innovation in fleet management technology and shifts towards a more sustainable are well underway, and there’s a lot to be excited about.