With the substantial increase in the fuel levies announced by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in the latest budget speech, fuel efficiency will remain the holy grail for South African fleet managers as the increase diminishes some of the relief gained by the recent slump in global fuel prices.
“The increased levies show how risky it is for fleet managers to become even a little complacent about fuel efficiency,” says David Molapo, head of Standard Bank Fleet Management, commenting on the overall 80.5 cents-a-litre increase in fuel levies.
Minister Nene announced a combination of a 30.5c-per-litre increase in the general fuel levy, and a steep 50c-per-litre increase in the Road Accident Fund levy, bringing the total increase in fuel levies to 80.5c per litre.
“Global oil price fluctuations can be unpredictable, which means that fleet managers cannot bank on continued low fuel prices. Any weakening of our currency might also drive up the cost of local fuel even if oil prices remain low. The fuel levy, however, tends to be permanent hence when oil prices recover, the squeeze will be even harder.” says Dr Molapo.
He believes that the only way for fleet managers to remain competitive is to keep on striving for even more fuel efficiency through all the proven methods, namely driver training and incentivisation, proper vehicle maintenance, meticulous tyre maintenance, careful route planning and using fit-for-purpose vehicles. The use of telematics in all these aspects of fleet management is no longer a luxury but a necessity,” he says.