By Shell on Jun. 14, 2022
Whether your business has two cars or 200, work vehicles are an important asset that need to be cared for and considered around tax time. If you own a fleet of vehicles, or even if you’re the one behind the wheel, there are some key things you can do to keep things efficient and cost-effective.
You may or may not have a fleet manager overseeing your vehicles, but regardless you should be asking the same question: “How many vehicles do we need to get the job done and achieve our sales targets?”
A simple check of how many kilometres a car has clocked up will allow you to budget ahead for things such as servicing, tyres, fuel, roadside assistance and registration. It’ll also help you determine if a car is being used too much, or not enough to justify its costs.
Personal trips in cars will incur a fringe benefits tax (FBT), and if you’re providing a free car spot in the office for staff, FBT will apply to that, too.
You can calculate FBT using either the ‘statutory method’, which uses the cost of the car as a base, or the ‘operating cost method’, which takes into account the car’s annual running costs and the amount of private trips undertaken by employees as a percentage of total distance travelled during a logbook period.
The end of the FBT year is 31 March, and by keeping a logbook for a minimum of 12 weeks into the new financial year, you can compare the two methods at the end of the FBT year, and pick the lowest cost option.
If you’re best described as a leadfoot, chances are you’re not getting the most out of your work vehicle. There are certain driving practices and behaviours that are more efficient (not to mention safer), meaning you won’t be burning dollars by burning rubber.
While one or all of the below things may be unavoidable during a journey, making a conscious effort to conserve energy will have a positive impact – not just on your wallet, but on the car itself, which should be in better shape once it’s due for a service.
1.Aim for a smooth ride
An obvious but important one. Quite simply, the more you accelerate, the harder the engine has to work, which isn’t good for fuel efficiency. Combining sudden braking with harsh acceleration makes things even worse, since there’s more effort to get going from a standstill. Aim instead for a steady cruising speed that involves little in the way of sudden stops and starts.
2.Don’t take the scenic route
These days, with sat nav guidance systems and maps on smartphones, it’s incredibly easy to plan out trips before you set off. A bit of forward planning means you can avoid tolls if required, as well as choose the quickest and simplest route to your destination. Even if you’re used to driving a particular route from memory, it’s still worth looking at your map since it typically monitors traffic conditions in real time.
3.Don’t feel the need for speed
Most passenger cars, utes and SUVs are at their most fuel efficient when driving in the range of 50 to 80km/h, while the optimal driving speed for most diesel-powered trucks is a cruising speed of 32 to 52km/h. Don’t believe that extra 10 or 20km/h matters? Think again: driving at 120km/h rather than 100km/h means your vehicle is consuming around 20 per cent more fuel (it’s also illegal in most parts of Australia).
4.Keep an eye on the tyres
Most people don’t realise it, but having under-inflated tyres can negatively impact your fuel efficiency. Ensuring they’re inflated to the correct level can have significant long-term benefits. The weight of the load that your tyres are carrying is also an important factor, since the heavier the cargo, the harder the vehicle has to work. If you can lighten the load at all, do it.