Volatile fuel prices top fleet managers’ concerns

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Corporate fleet managers rate higher and more volatile fuel prices as their top concern in 2011, according to a recent survey conducted by GE Capital Fleet Services. More than a quarter of respondents (29 percent) said the recent spike in fuel prices has made this issue their top concern, up from 12 percent a year ago.

The survey of 105 fleet managers, conducted recently at the 2011 NAFA Institute & Expo in Charlotte, N.C., found that driver safety and cost savings were also top areas of concern. Concern for driver safety increased in 2011 to 28 percent from 21 percent in 2010, while cost savings fell as a priority but remained important at 23 percent, down from 36 percent in 2010.

Moreover, cost savings are now a bigger focus for executive management, according to fleet managers; 64 percent of those surveyed indicated that executive management’s main focus for fleets is cost savings, up from 48 percent in 2010.

“Volatile fuel prices are an overriding concern today for corporate fleet managers, given the current environment,” says Clarence Nunn, chief executive officer of GE Capital Fleet Services. “We are seeing a corresponding increase in interest from our fleet customers for solutions in fuel, telematics and maintenance programs that will help them combat rising fuel costs and improve operational efficiency.”

Other key findings from the survey include:
• Analytics: 29 percent of fleet managers use fleet analytics to improve operational efficiency, and 27 percent noted that analytics helped them achieve cost savings’
• Lease accounting: Between a third and half of fleet managers (40 percent) feel they don’t have a good enough grasp of how pending changes to lease accounting rules (FASB) will affect fleet leasing; and
• Electric Vehicles: 28 percent said they plan to incorporate electric vehicles into their fleets within the next 12 months.