5 ways for the gig economy to mitigate the effects of rising fuel costs

Kimberly Hurd
CRO
Collective Benefits

The UK has seen fuel prices hit record highs this year, with unleaded petrol surpassing 160p per litre and diesel as high as 179p per litre. Beyond the impact on society at large, the price increase is dramatically impacting businesses that depend on drivers. A recent Rideshare survey reported that it has driven many drivers to cut their hours, and others to strike.

As a business you might pay for your fleet’s petrol, or your drivers might be covering the costs themselves. Either way it's a problem, whether it’s seeing one of your biggest operating costs increase, or it's seeing drivers be deterred from starting, or staying in, a job. It’s estimated that 100,000 independent UK cab drivers have left the industry in the past year after seeing their costs increasing.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are ways for mobility and logistics companies who depend on flexible workers to combat rising fuel prices, and thus avoid driver churn, strikes and general dissatisfaction. 

What can you do to combat fuel costs?

To combat this, here are five changes you can make to reduce your fuel costs for your business, or your drivers, straight away. 

1. Having drivers pay on fuel discount cards can cut costs by 4p to 5p per litre

Providing a fuel discount card for your workers is one of the most effective ways to help them save on fuel. The Collective Benefits fuel discount card allows workers to save on fuel from major brands and supermarkets - and doesn't cost you a penny.

It also means drivers don’t have to pay upfront for fuel as they can use the credit from the card to cover the cost and pay it off at a later date. 

2. Help your fleets locate the cheapest petrol stations

Although every petrol station is displaying strikingly higher prices, there are differences in price amongst stations, which is worth highlighting to your drivers. To compare the different rates, give your drivers access to a fuel finder in their area, so they can locate the cheapest price. Confused.com has a handy one you can check out here.

3. Remind drivers that driving style impacts fuel consumption

It’ll always be tempting for drivers to complete a trip as quickly as possible, particularly when more trips mean more money earned. But recapping and sharing information on economic driving practices with your fleet can help reduce costs all round. 

The RAC recommends you drive in the highest gear you can within the speed limit, avoid cruise control unless on the motorway, gradually increasing and decreasing speed rather than jumping up or down and avoid using things like trailers or roof racks where possible. According to the Energy Saving Trust, leaving empty roof racks on the top of a vehicle can increase its drag by 39% which will ruin its fuel efficiency. Here is a useful article with eight fuel saving tips from the RAC.

4. Choose the right vehicles for the journey

While you’re planning routes around fuel efficiency, consider which vehicles are making each trip based on things like engine size and aerodynamics. 

While congestion charges in city centres and higher taxation on larger size engines has prompted a shift towards hybrid and electric vehicles, it’s worth thinking about longer haul journeys too, if this is appropriate for your business. 

New vehicles are expensive but there are plenty of useful retrofittings for freight lorries such as roof fairings and side skirts to reduce wind resistance and increase fuel economy. These cost between £400 and £500 and can reduce wind resistance. Subsidising these fittings for contract or independent workers can help encourage uptake and reduce their upfront costs.

To avoid incurring inner city green charges you can also retrofit the engine of a HGV to meet the local standard. According to the Energy Saving Trust it costs around £15,000-£20,000 to retrofit a HGV engine, but if you consider a new electric HGV costs between £350,000-£450,000, you’re more likely to see the payback in retrofitting a younger HGV over time.

5. Ensure the tyres of all vehicles are properly inflated. 

Ensuring that all vehicles have properly inflated tyres can improve fuel efficiency by an average of 0.6% and in some cases up to 3%. Vehicles lose 0.2% in fuel efficiency for every one pascal below the recommended tyre pressure.

So a good first step to avoid spending unnecessary money on fuel is to check the tyre pressure of the vehicle before each journey. Tyre pressure is affected by adverse weather, be it hot or cold, so in warmer weather you should also see better fuel efficiency.

Need a hand?

The fuel crisis has had a particularly big impact on the logistics, automotive and transportation industries, and the added pressures are undoubtedly felt by drivers. Collective Benefits offer innovative solutions exclusively tailored for businesses with flexible workers, such as drivers, riders and couriers. We’re helping our clients navigate the fuel price hike, so they can mitigate the negative effects such as worker dissatisfaction and churn.

Interested in providing the fuel discount card to your workers? Click here for more info.

March 31, 2022