- Find out to make Advisory Fuel Rates your friend
- We explore the difference and AFRs and AMAPs
- Follow our guide and you may find big savings can be made
A good way of saving money is to make sure you're close to hitting the Government's Advisory Fuel Rates, or AFRs, when driving your company car.
These are the official pence-per-mile figures that the government advises companies pay their drivers when claiming back business miles. They're different to grey fleet Authorised Mileage Allowance Payments, or AMAPs, as we'll discover below.
AFR vs AMAP - the difference
Effectively, if you're driving a car supplied by your company, the AFRs are what you need to know about. They dictate how much money you can claim back per mile when claiming for business mileage.
Not all companies follow these guidelines, but most do. The rates are reviewed four times a year – to view the current rates click here.
If you drive your own car for work, however, you'll be in for AMAP rates. There are higher than AFRs since they include other factors, such as servicing, repairs, insurance and depreciation.
Such drivers are known as 'grey fleet' drivers, and they're usually paid AMAP rates at up to 45p per mile up to 10,000 miles and up to 25p per mile thereafter.
How can I save money?
The way to save yourself cash is to get as close as possible to the AFR rate you're working towards, meaning you won't have to pay anything extra for your fuel. This means picking the right car, driving it carefully and being clever about where you buy petrol or diesel.
Picking the right car
Company car selection is key. If you want a high-performance company car (in the unlikely event that your company allows it) you are more likely to end up out of pocket when it comes to reclaiming fuel.
Bigger cars generally cost more to run, so is the company car you have your eye on really the most practical and cost-effective choice? Do you need an estate if you are the only one who will be travelling in the car? Is it worth the extra 5bhp of power at the expense of a 10mpg cut off the combined figure?
Opting for a more fuel-efficient company car and one that is fit for your needs is an important part of making your company car as cost effective as possible.
There has been a great deal in the news over recent weeks about the price war between supermarkets to sell the cheapest fuel. With both petrol and diesel prices being so high over the past few years it comes as a welcome relief for many of us. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Taking full advantage of this is important. Try and fill up at supermarkets as often as possible as long as they are close enough to make logistical sense, and avoid motorway service stations as they are usually the most expensive.
It’s simple – the more economical you drive the more you get out of a tank of fuel and the less money you spend.
Research suggests that adopting a smoother driving style, keeping to the speed limits, using the right gears and anticipating the road ahead can have a significant impact on average MPG figures.
You may also want to consider how you use the air conditioning and other equipment like heated seats. None of this kit works for free – it always costs extra energy and money.
If you make even the slightest difference to your driving style you may be surprised by the impact it has on your average MPG.
To read our full tips on eco driving – click here
Planning ahead is important so you can avoid known congestion times and navigate your way to the quickest or shortest route reducing the time your engine is running and the amount of miles you travel.
A lot of new cars today have stop/start technology available which helps to combat this cost, but nevertheless it is still worth planning in advance, especially for long journeys.
Petrol or diesel?
When it comes to picking your next company car, CO2 emissions and MPG are becoming more of an important consideration than ever before.
The initial cost that choosing diesel over petrol incurs can eventually be recouped due to diesel engine’s better fuel efficiency, but you need to travel quite a few miles for this to make sense.
Diesel engines will also generally emit less CO2, so your tax bills will be sometimes be lower. This will be even more likely when the three percent diesel surcharge on company car tax is removed in 2016.
Petrol engines are catching up though and some, like the 1.0 EcoBoost from Ford, even surpass the diesel equivilant's performance.
Despite diesel being the most popular choice for company car drivers, if you are city based and do not travel more than 10,000 miles a year, a petrol car is likely to be a more sensible choice.
Read our guide to Petrol or Diesel in full here
Want to find out more?
To find out about the NEDC fuel economy cycle and how the official consumption figures stack up against real world driving – click here