Reducing the cost of business travel 

By Jamie Bridgen

Fuel prices have hit the headlines again this month. For small businesses that rely on transporting people, goods or services by road, the rising cost of fuel is a cost most can ill afford. Jamie Bridgen from The Fuel Store, a fleet management and fuel card provider, shares his tips for reducing the cost of travel. 

Why have fuel prices risen? 

There are lots of factors at play here – most of which are down to geopolitical uncertainty around the world. The ongoing conflicts In Ukraine and Russia, as well as tensions in the Middle East, have led to a rise in oil prices. At the same time, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has made cuts in the production of crude oil that equate to millions of barrels a day. This ongoing volatility has impacted crude oil markets and, with the pound weakening against the US dollar, forecourt prices have rocketed. 

Could rising fuel prices impact my business?  

Naturally, the level of impact will depend on the type of business you operate, and the amount of travel involved. However, the harsh reality is the rising cost of fuel is likely to have an impact on the wider economy. Consumers will have less money in their pockets to spend on non-essentials, and rising transportation costs could hit the supply chain, pushing up the cost of doing business. For many small businesses, including those who operate as sole traders, there is a tough call to make between absorbing additional costs or passing them on to your customers. 

How can businesses reduce the impact of rising fuel costs? 

Consider using a fuel card

One of the best ways to save money off forecourt fuel prices is to sign up for a company fuel card. Selecting the right card can unlock significant savings off the pump price (in 2023, customers of The Fuel Store saved an average of 12.5 pence per litre off pump prices). It’s also worth noting fuel cards are a cheaper way of accessing credit than a company credit card, which can attract hefty interest rates. 

Your fuel card provider will provide weekly invoicing for the fuel used, allowing you to keep tabs on spending, and budget for fuel costs. While this approach can’t actively reduce your mileage, it can help you manage cash flow more effectively – allowing you to invoice customers and recoup operating costs before paying for your fuel.  

One invoice also means less admin. No searching for lost fuel receipts, and a far easier submission to HMRC. For small businesses, this represents a significant reduction in admin time – allowing you to focus on business activities that add to the bottom line. 

Simple vehicle checks 

Keeping your vehicle in good condition has a direct impact on fuel efficiency, as well as safety, but there’s also a financial imperative to ensure your vehicles are properly maintained. According to data published by the DVSA, 569 businesses were fined for non-compliance during the financial year 22/23. Fuel consumption aside, keeping your vehicle or fleet in a good state or repair can save you money in the long run. 

Change your driving habits 

When you think of telematics systems, you probably think of big businesses. However, even sole traders and micro businesses can benefit from using a telematics tool – and the cost covers itself surprisingly quickly. In addition to helping you plan and optimise your route and save valuable time, telematics systems also gather and analyse data about fuel consumption, RPM and braking habits. This can help you to avoid some of the things that make driving more costly – heavy braking, fast acceleration and not changing up or down the gears smoothly can all cost you more in the long run. 

Switch to Electric Vehicles 

This isn’t a simple, short-term solution like the others, but making the switch to an electric vehicle or fleet is one way to avoid rising fuel costs. The initial outlay is undoubtedly a big one, but there are grants available for businesses which can reduce the costs significantly. The costs of powering the vehicles, as well as ongoing maintenance charges, are lower than your average diesel or petrol vehicle, too. 

To find out more about fuel cards and fleet management tools that can improve productivity and lower costs, visit