Seven myths about using fuel cards
Using a fuel card is a great way to save some money, both by getting the fuel at a discounted rate and also by being able to better manage and track the way the vehicle is driven.
Being economical with fuel isn't just good for the bank balance, it's better for the environment too and the government is keen to incentivise motorists to drive in a more eco-friendly way.
However, whilst there's a lot of ways to improve your green credentials, there are lots of weird and wonderful myths about how to get the best out of fuel.
Here's a few of the myths about buying fuel and using a fuel card that you may have heard.
MYTH: Buy your fuel in the morning to get the best value.
There's a strange suggestion doing the rounds that if you get up bright and early, you could squeeze more petrol into your tank.
Getting the most out of every penny you spend on your fuel card might be important, but shrugging off the duvet to jump into the car might be taking things a little bit too far.
The theory is that because it's colder in the morning, the fuel will be denser and therefore more will able to fit into your tank for the same price. A cold ground should lead to denser petrol according to the hypothesis, giving you more fuel than later on in the day when the temperature has caused it to expand.
But is it true? Boffins have suggested there is a grain of truth in the theory but the advantage is so tiny, by the time you've queued in morning traffic, you will have more than wiped out any small gain you could have made.
MYTH: You'll have to buy premium-rate fuel
This is one of those unfounded rumours that seem to linger without having any basis in fact.
If you use a fuel card, you won't be forced to purchase premium rate fuel, thus wiping out the savings you make from having the account in the first place!
Premium rate fuel is slightly different than standard, but unless you have a sports car or a top of the range luxury model which has an engine which burns hotter, you won't notice any difference in performance.
So when your hand passes over the premium rate nozzle to settle on the standard, don't feel guilty about giving your car a below par fill-up; the chances are there won't be any difference.
MYTH: You can get the same fuel savings with a gizmo
There's lots of ways you can use your fuel card to manage your fleet more efficiently, and it makes it easier to identify drivers who are burning more fuel yet travelling less miles.
If that all sounds like too much time and effort, you might be inclined to try out one of the miraculous wonder gadgets on the market which vow to slash the amount of fuel your engine uses.
The bad news is that after a number of different scientific studies, none has been proven as having any kind of significant impact on the use of fuel.
Remember the golden rule: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
MYTH: You won't be able to fill up at a supermarket
If you have images of driving around half the city every time you need to put fuel in your vehicle, you might need to update your information about modern-day fuel cards.
Fuel cards are now accepted at a wide variety of pumps with supermarket stations willing to accept the card, allowing you to get a double value on the transaction.
With a fuel card, you won't be alienated and forced to shop in just one place in town; you will be able to access a wide range of pumps wherever you go, including motorway services and supermarket stations too.
MYTH: There's more room in the tank after the nozzle clicks
Every driver has been guilty of this at some time; hearing the click to switch off the nozzle at the petrol pump but carrying on for a short while to squeeze every last drop into the tank.
You may think you are topping off the tank to get the maximum benefit and in doing so are stretching out the time before you need to pay the forecourt another visit, but in reality you are just charging money to your fuel card.
Squeezing more money into the pump is a waste of cash and means you will be simply consigning fuel to the waste area in your car or allowing it to be sucked back up by the nozzle; you can't magically create more space that isn't there.
MYTH: You'll get debris in your engine if you fill up just after the pumps are replenished
Scaremongers have warned that if you fill up your car with fuel just after you see the tankers replenishing the petrol station, your car will end up with grit, debris and dirt circulating around your engine.
The urban myth suggests that replenishing the tanks disturbs the silt at the bottom and allows it to flow out of the nozzle more easily.
The notion that big chunks could fly out of the pump is faintly ridiculous and certainly not based in fact. Modern pumps have filters in place to stop any noticeable grit from ending up in your engine, so feel free to get in line just as soon as the tankers head off into the distance.
MYTH: It takes more fuel to switch the engine on and off than to leave it running
You're out on the roads and as you turn the corner, your heart sinks. A long line of traffic waiting at the level crossing. You know you're going to be stuck there a while so what do you do; leave the engine ticking over or switch it off completely?
Few people opt for the latter believing that it takes so much fuel to switch the engine on and off that it is counter-productive. However, keeping the engine running requires fuel to be pumping around the engine whilst turning it on and off again (once it's warm) takes no extra fuel whatsoever. If you expect to be static for 10 seconds or more, there's no debate: switch your engine off to conserve fuel.
Getting the most out of your fuel card means using your car cost-effectively in as many ways as possible... and this includes being able to tell between an urban myth and a true money-saving tip. Many of the above myths are repeated time after time, but if they come your way again, you can simply shrug them off and move on.