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High fuel costs are holding heating companies back

The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) says the industry is suffering a double-whammy due to the combination of the high price of fuel and the recession.
APHC says that not only are fuel costs eating into profits but the recession means customers will not tolerate price rises to allow for the ever-increasing cost of fuel.

Any small advantage companies can gain - by using free online tools to find the cheapest local station or by using a fuelcard company - is well worth it as it can make hundreds and even thousands of pounds difference per year.

'Fuel prices have risen by at least 20 to 25 pence in the last year,' says John Thompson, chief executive of APHC. 'For the average Ford Transit style van travelling 30,000 miles a year at an average 30mpg, that means around £1,000 extra spent on fuel than last year. However, with customers holding back on major projects and typically shopping around for the lowest price for essential work, we're finding that plumbing and heating engineers are finding it difficult to pass that cost on. These high - and increasing - fuel costs are making their lives a misery.'

With around 61 per cent of the price you pay at the pump going to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in the form of Fuel Duty and VAT, campaigns for a cut in Fuel Duty are gathering pace. FairFuel UK was formed at the beginning of 2011 and has quickly become a significant voice in the protests. FFUK has 200,000 public supporters and many high-profile businesses on board including the RAC, the Road Haulage Association and the Freight Transport Association.

FFUK's efforts have already resulted in the formation of an All Party Parliamentary Working Group in the House of Commons and it can take considerable credit for forcing the Chancellor to abandon the fuel escalator in the March budget. APHC is therefore encouraging its members - and the whole of the industry - to sign up to the campaign at

Meanwhile, APHC has been recommending its members use its Fuelcard member benefit, which can save members money every time they fill up. A conservative estimate of a 3p per litre saving, for example, equates to a saving of approximately £135 per van per year. It doesn't take much to work out how important this saving is, especially if a company has a whole fleet of vans.

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27 July 2011


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