One in four van drivers turn down jobs as fuel crisis makes work less cost effective, study shows

As the cost of fuel remains at unprecedented levels, new research reveals almost a quarter of van drivers (24%) have turned down job opportunities because petrol prices mean certain jobs are not cost effective.

The research from MoneySuperMarket reveals how people using vans for work purposes are being impacted by economic and van trade environments. The data shows van users are now paying on average £2,427 more annually to fuel their vehicles to carry out paid jobs.  

Consumers are experiencing the knock-on effect of this as businesses are forced to put prices up to cover their costs. Over half (53%) of businesses that are reliant on vans said they have increased their prices. Others have started building mileage charges into the prices consumers pay (14%). 

It’s not just the fuel crisis that is causing concern for van drivers. The research highlights the negative impact the van shortage is having on businesses, as almost one in five (18%) who use vans for work have turned down jobs because they cannot get a suitable vehicle. One in 10 (10%) are even having to scale back their business because they can’t get access to the vans they need.  

Some are having to go to extreme lengths to make certain jobs viable, with 16% of van drivers using the family car for work because it’s cheaper to fill up. Depending on your policy type this may invalidate your insurance and leave you out of pocket. The van shortage is also driving many to use their family car for work purposes, as almost one fifth (18%) say it’s the only way to get themselves and their tools to the job when they can’t get the van they need.

Further adding to the plight of van drivers, almost half (47%) have had tools stolen out of their van. 26% of these were covered by their van insurance whilst the remaining 21% did not have any insurance in place, meaning they had to foot the bill for replacements themselves.

Van drivers in Aberdeen need to be most cautious with 71% reporting that they have experienced tool theft in the city.   

Top 10 cities where tool theft from vans is most common 

Rank City  Percentage of drivers experiencing tool theft (%) 
Aberdeen  71% 
Oxford  63% 
Southampton  60% 
Cardiff 56% 
Manchester  53% 
London  52% 
Leeds / Belfast  50% 
Plymouth / Birmingham  42% 
Glasgow / Liverpool / Newcastle  41% 
10 Brighton and Hove 38% 

Finding a van that suits your businesses needs can be difficult, and in the current market expensive. 34% of van drivers say buying a new van is too expensive right now, and a further 16% say they can’t even foot the cost of a pre-owned van.  

When it comes to how vans are kitted out, MoneySuperMarket’s research shows three seats in the front is top of the list of desired specifications (45%).  

Top five most important van specifications  

Rank Van specifications Percentage of drivers (%) 
3 seats in the front 45% 
Built-in sat-nav 30% 
Sliding door, rather than only a back door 27% 
Sufficient space for equipment/tools 26% 
Automatic gearbox 23% 

Sara Newell, MoneySuperMarket’s van insurance expert commented: “With over one in five (21%) having to fork out after not having van insurance that covered tool theft, it’s important to explore ways you can mitigate against the risk of financial loss when it comes to your van.  

“As well as insurance costs, van shortages and the fuel crisis are making it harder and more expensive for van drivers to do their jobs. This means it’s more important than ever to shop around and compare different van insurance costs to find the best deal for your needs.”