Allstar Fuel Card Services and their £2 Network Service Fee

I’ve just been reading that Allstar Fuel Card Services have introduced a £2 ‘network service fee’ every time someone uses one of their cards to pay for fuel.

If the responses of the small number of same day courier company owners who’ve noticed this extra charge are anything to go by, the company had done little to inform their customers of this new charge – several seeming to have only realised when their invoices have arrived or when the matter was raised recently on an industry forum.

Looking at Allstar’s website leaves me wondering how they can impose these charges while continuing to make the claim that small and medium businesses will ‘only pay actual price of fuel used’ (www.allstarcard.co.uk/sme) . I’m surprised that they consider that paying an extra £2 every time you fill your tank can be considered only paying the actual price of the fuel. I consider it as charging an extra 5p/litre on a typical 40 litre top-up.

For many years I’ve recommended Allstar fuel cards Read More…

Posted under Fuel Prices

Posted by Alec at 3:05 pm, January 28, 2013

Apparently this is the perfect time to buy or lease a new van

According to this report van prices have dropped by 9% in the last three months and dealers are now offering attractive low rate finance deals.

The article quotes Duncan Coleman of vansunited.co.uk as saying “We’ve not only seen retailers and manufacturers reduce their new and used prices, but they’ve applied finance offers to LCVs that were once the preserve of the car market. Now is the perfect time to buy for those businesses wanting to secure a strong deal.”

I suppose if you’re set on buying a new van in the next year or so then now might be the time to do it, but I’d question whether this is really the perfect time to buy.

While the last six weeks or so have been encouragingly busy for many same day couriers there’s no certainty about the future at all. Whether we’re on the brink of a cataclysmic recession or not it’s clear that many companies aren’t in a position to last the next few months, never mind considering investment in new vehicles.

There are many bargains to be had at auctions at the moment, nearly new vans Read More…

Posted under Fuel Prices, Vans

Posted by Alec at 6:15 pm, September 9, 2008

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DHL to move urgent mail by speedboat

I’ve been meaning to check up on this story since I read it a couple of weeks ago.

The story as a whole is quite interesting and just goes to show that high fuel prices and congestion can certainly help to focus minds on getting freight off the roads. It was this line that caught my interest though: “international courier firm DHL is looking to move urgent mail from central London to Heathrow by speedboat to avoid congestion in the capital.”

I’ve been unable to find out any more information on DHL’s proposed scheme, an email to their Press Office went unanswered, but it’s certainly an intriguing possibility. However, I looked into the feasibility of a scheme like this a few months ago and quickly discounted the idea as being of little value to the same day courier industry or to any other Read More…

Posted under Fuel Prices, Uncategorized

Posted by Alec at 12:12 pm, August 25, 2008

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National Road Pricing Scheme a possibility again – apparently

This report in the Telegraph claims that the Government are going ahead with plans to test satellite-based tracking with a view to using it as the basis of a national road-pricing scheme.

It was also the Telegraph that broke the story last October that these plans had apparently been shelved, or “back burnered” as it was put. It’s now clear that far from being shelved the plans for tests into the viability of national road charging are now at an advanced stage, with trials set to start in January 2010.

Personally I see little problem with the concept of a national road-charging scheme, however it seems clear to me that these trials will be a multi-million pound waste of money with huge potential profits for consultancy firms but little, if any, chance of the plans actually reaching fruition. It seems entirely likely that there will be at least one change of government before any national road-charging scheme is introduced and I don’t believe that any party will have the political will to see this through.

It’s only necessary to look at what’s happening in Manchester at the moment to see that motorists and the business community will use any argument possible to promote Read More…

Posted under Fuel Prices, Protests & Strikes, Tolls, Charges & Fines

Posted by Alec at 7:49 pm, August 18, 2008

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The end of the road for biodiesel in the UK?

Same day couriers and other transport companies are increasingly turning to biodiesel to avoid the soaring cost of fuel. Some entrepreneurial transport companies have even started making their own biodiesel both for their own use and for resale to business associates.

In 2002, after much lobbying and with the approval of the EU, the UK introduced a lower rate of duty for biodiesel. At the time the biodiesel production was limited to a few enthusiastic companies who mainly produced their biodiesel from waste vegetable oil (WVO), used cooking oil from Fish & Chip shops etc, and before the introduction of this welcome ‘subsidy’, were able to produce fuel at a price that was slightly higher than traditional diesel fuel.

The introduction of the reduced rate of duty sparked a lot more interest in the production of biodiesel, increasing the demand (and the cost) for WVO and pushing biodiesel producers towards the use of virgin vegetable oil (VVO), which is anyway easier to process.

Move forward to 2008 and suddenly biofuel production seems a lot less ‘green’ than it was. Higher oil prices have increased the viability of fuel production from VVO and farmland throughout the world is being turned over to the production of oil and ethanol producing crops, forcing food production onto previously uncultivated land and leading to deforestation, worldwide food shortages and ultimately increasing the levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

The UK Government had already announced that biodiesel will be taxed at the same rate as normal diesel from 2010 but it had been hoped Read More…

Posted under Fuel Prices

Posted by Alec at 4:10 pm, August 14, 2008

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Are High Fuel Prices Good for the UK Transport Industry?

Two months ago I wrote that I was starting to think that high fuel prices may be a good thing for the same day courier industry. I’ve revisited my original post in the light of the recent drop in fuel prices, recent statistics about car use and the exit from the business of quite a few less profitable owner-drivers and courier companies and I still stand by my opinions. In fact I’d go as far as to say that I’m a bit disappointed that fuel prices are dropping again so soon.

The effect on the same day courier industry has been largely mirrored, or possibly even magnified, in the transport industry in general.

The RHA and the hauliers are still, of course, bleating about haulage companies going out of business because of high fuel prices. The reality is that the only haulage companies who are suffering because of high fuel prices are those who didn’t have the foresight to tie their customers into contracts with provision Read More…

Posted under Fuel Prices

Posted by Alec at 6:34 pm, August 12, 2008

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Drivers Left Stranded by High Fuel Prices

This report by the Sunday Mirror made me smile – both because of the apallingly inaccurate reporting and because it reminded me of a couple of conversations I’ve had over the last few months – one with an experienced same day courier who really should have known better.

According to the Mirror the recent high fuel prices have been causing more motorists to cut back on servicing their cars and because of that more motorists have been stranded by breakdowns.

Apparently an AA spokesman warned: “More and more motorists are running their cars until the warning light comes on.

“Apart from the risk of breaking down on a busy road, it also causes longterm damage to the car.”

I don’t think that I’ve read this particular AA survey, I certainly can’t find it on their website, but I’d guess from the next paragraph of the Mirror report Read More…

Posted under Fuel Prices

Posted by Alec at 7:49 am, August 11, 2008

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Are High Fuel Prices the Real Cure for Road Congestion?

As I’ve said in the past, I’m firmly of the opinion that high fuel prices, road charging, congestion charges and anything else that encourages car users off the roads are a good thing for the transport industry in general and the same-day courier industry in particular.

This report from the AA seems to back up my view. It quotes Government figures estimating that car traffic during April, May and June 2008 was 2% down on the same period last year. The report goes on to say that 55% of AA members who answered a recent poll claimed to Read More…

Posted under Fuel Prices

Posted by Alec at 3:56 pm, August 10, 2008

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