With increasing fuel costs, concerns regarding fringe costs and technology that provides detailed reviews of fleet expenses, drivers may be facing new fees to pay for personal use privileges. Already this year, the average cost of monthly personal use charges has increased to $121. The 2013 average is up from $116 in 2012 and $118 in 2011.
The annual personal use charges and policies survey was conducted by Automotive Fleet through an online questionnaire. The results of the survey come from fleet managers across all industries.
However, in this year’s survey, the percentage of fleets that allow personal use of company vehicles was charted by field and non-field vehicles. Fleets that allow personal use of company field vehicles saw an increase of 2 percent (up to 87 percent in 2013) from the previous year. Only 38 percent of fleets that use non-field vehicles allowed personal use.
Many employers allow drivers to use their vehicles for purposes outside of work related activities, according to the survey. In fact, 83 percent of drivers are permitted to use their assigned vehicle whenever necessary, up from 71 percent in 2012. A large majority of fleet companies also let their employees’ spouse and other family members to drive fleet issues vehicles.
These increases in personal use charges are largely being attributed to the continuing rise of fuel prices. Regardless, the expenses continue to grow and fleet companies are justifying this reasoning for the higher personal use fee. And because of these budding costs, some fleets will be charging for personal use by the end of the year. Overall, a larger number of fleets are reviewing their current personal use policies or instituting new ones.
There have been concerns regarding fringe costs in relation to personal use – services such as additional cleaning charges and more common maintenance requirements, among others. While there has been no consensus amongst fleet managers of how to handle the different costs, finding a way to increase or implement personal use charges is very likely.
But there are plenty of challenges when it comes to determining personal use fees. One suggestion would be implementing variable personal use charges. Although this may prove to be the most effective way to monitor and offset costs, it creates more administrative work and additional rules for reassigning vehicles. GPS tools to track business and personal mileage have also been experimented with to assess personal use of company cars.