Cheaper diesel makes comparison between diesel and petrol vans increasingly complex, but that misses the key issue in fleet procurement according to The Fuelcard People. Steve Clarke, group marketing manager, has pointed out that day-to-day fuel pricing is not the main factor to be considered.

“Pump pricing is a red herring,” he said, “because nobody need pay that much. Whether a van or other LCV runs on diesel or petrol, most should be refuelling at up to 4p per litre below pump prices with fuel cards. Whole-life costing, or total cost of ownership, has to be the key issue in van comparisons.”

He was commenting on the news that diesel remains cheaper than petrol on most forecourts. He said, “Diesel became cheaper than petrol this summer, for the first time since 2001. Better mpg figures for diesel might suggest an obvious choice, but that misses the point. Unless you consider every cost during a van’s lifetime, any comparison will be meaningless.”

Steve Clarke advised that fleet managers should take into account road tax, servicing, maintenance, repairs, tyres and other consumables. “You have to keep track of everything spent through a vehicle’s life with the fleet,” he said. “It is the only way to make meaningful evaluation of one van against another. It also puts you in a more powerful negotiating position when procuring future vehicles.”