92% of Fleet Executives Predict Fuel Prices Will Remain Higher or Rise over the Next Year According to New Industry Report

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eyefortransport recently surveyed over 300 North American fleet executives over two years to establish what the main concerns and strategies of those in charge of fueling North America's fleets are amidst huge concerns over the changing price of oil. The resulting 'Fuel Management for Fleets' 2008 Report revealed that the vast majority of fleet executives expect fuel purchasing to become an even bigger challenge, and environmental issues to play a much larger role in their fuel management decisions.

eyefortransport recently surveyed over 300 North American fleet executives over two years to establish what the main concerns and strategies of those in charge of fueling North America's fleets are amidst huge concerns over the changing price of oil. The resulting 'Fuel Management for Fleets' 2008 Report revealed that the vast majority of fleet executives expect fuel purchasing to become an even bigger challenge, and environmental issues to play a much larger role in their fuel management decisions.

With skyrocketing fuel prices, supply chain issues, new hardware specifications, environmental regulations and endlessly evolving technologies, the current climate can be daunting for fleet executives responsible for fueling their vehicles. With this in mind, eyefortransport asked survey respondents to pinpoint the areas that concern them the most, and what their strategies for dealing with these challenges are.

The timely industry report that resulted revealed that traditional fuel purchasing strategies are still the most popular, with 26% of respondents relying on negotiations with suppliers, 17% negotiating with fuel card companies, and 14% creating and implementing a fuel buying plan. Appointing a fuel manager, setting up a limited network, implementing the latest price gathering technology and using risk management (hedging) strategies are still low on the list of active strategies, but are on the rise, each seeing an increase of a few % over the last year.

The majority of executives expect fuel prices to stay high or continue to rise, of which 12% said they would remain relatively stable, and 80% expect oil prices to rise over the next 12 months. Only 8% expect these prices to fall.

One of the more sensitive areas covered by the report is customer surcharging. Whilst cushioning transportation companies, this act of hedging hits customers and businesses where it hurts most, and getting an overview of this uncontrolled cost was thus deemed one of the main areas of focus for the report. While the hope is that, via hybrids, aggressive fuel efficiency programs, bulk fuel purchases and alternative technology, fleets can limit surcharges in the future, currently 18% of respondents in 2007, rising to 28% in 2008, divulged that they offset all fuel price increases with customer surcharges. A further 39% in 2007 and 31% in 2008 said that they cover at least some of the price hikes through this kind of hedging. A nearly even 26% in 2007 and 27% in 2008 said they do not apply surcharges, but 7% each year said they were considering doing so as a way to hedge fuel increases in the future. By all accounts there will be no great short-term reduction in surcharging practices.

Do North America's fleets plan to respond to increased customer and public pressures to 'go green'? According to the 2008 survey a combined 76% of fleet executives rated environmental concerns as being one of the most important factors in their fuel management decisions, of which a full 37% rate green issues as 'Very Important', and another 17% as 'A Top Priority'. When asked how they expect environmental concerns to impact their fuel management strategies over the next three years, another 76% said that they will either impact or greatly impact their strategies. "These results were not surprising, but the consensus numbers were still higher than expected over environmental issues," says Katharine O'Reilly, Director of Environmental Research at eyefortransport. "The fact that over 2/3 of our respondents recognize the impact environmental issues will have on their operations in the near future is encouraging. It remains unclear whether fleets have the knowledge and resources necessary to implement effective fuel management strategies in light of this realization."

In order to survey the current landscape, respondents were asked to rate their current fuel management plans. The self-reported results were unambiguous, with an honest 16% reporting their fuel management is 'Poor'. The majority of respondents settled for the middle ground with 45% rating their management as 'Ok', and 26% as 'Good'. A contented 6% can be satisfied with themselves for their self-reported 'Excellent' fuel management strategies.

To download the full report for free visit http://www.eft.com/fuel/report.shtml

eyefortransport conducted the survey to celebrate the launch of its 2nd Effective Fuel Management & Environmental Strategies for Commercial Fleets Conference being held in Orlando on March 26-27, 2008. Full details including the agenda and speaker list can be found at http://www.eft.com/greenfuelconf

For more information, contact:
Katharine O'Reilly
Director of Environmental Research
eyefortransport
Tel: 1 800 814 3459 ext 329 (US toll free) or +44 (0)20 7375 7207

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