Businesses increase use of fuel cards to offset rising costs

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High fuel prices are driving an increasing number of businesses to use fuel cards as a means of payment at the pump, according to new research from Datamonitor. It reports the European Fuel Cards market was valued at €72bn in 2009 and 987m more litres of fuel is set to be purchased using fuel cards in the next three years.

Datamonitor’s Commercial Fuel Cards in Europe research reveals more businesses are using fuel cards, particularly in the UK and Sweden where the fuel card market is mature and pump prices are inflated by high tax. According to Datamonitor, this is because if businesses use fuel cards they are more likely to receive discounts from the fuel retailer.

Alex Jeater, analyst at Datamonitor, said: “Although businesses in Germany currently spend the most on fuel cards, growth is currently being driven in countries with high pump prices, such as the UK. Consequently, the amount spent on commercial fuel cards in the UK will increase by 8.4% between 2009 and 2012.”

However, oil companies, as well as independent fuel card issuers, are starting to look to Eastern Europe where Datamonitor predicts huge growth over the next two years. The volume of fuel purchased on fuel cards in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania is set to increase in these markets by nearly 20%, 11.5% and just under 10% respectively between 2009 and 2012. Banks are also increasingly interested in the sector, aware they are missing out on billions of euros worth of transactions, say researchers.

Jeater said: “Although Germany, France and Spain remain very important markets for issuers of commercial fuel cards, Eastern and Southern Europe offers a lucrative potential market and we predictin the Czech Republic alone there will be an increase of more than 340m litres brought on fuel cards between 2009 and 2012. This growth will be driven by the predicted increase in registered company cars and vans, as well as the fact these markets are less mature than elsewhere in Europe.”