Mirfield business shells out £5k extra per week to fill up HGV fleet

KEEP ON TRUCKING: John Cotton is spending �5,000 a week more on fuel than it did 12 months ago. (d10021185) Picture: MATTHEW PAGE
KEEP ON TRUCKING: John Cotton is spending �5,000 a week more on fuel than it did 12 months ago. (d10021185) Picture: MATTHEW PAGE

THE hike in the price of petrol means a Mirfield firm is spending up to £5,000 more on fuel each week than this time last year.

John Cotton spends up to £25,000 a week filling up its fleet of 25 HGVs, compared with up to £20,000 on March 1 last year – a jump of 20 per cent.

And David Hemingway, group fleet manager of the 95-year-old firm, said budgeting for fuel over the year was increasingly difficult because of uncertainty over future prices.

He added: “Some of our vehicles use 150 gallons a week, it depends where they are going. They carry 80 gallons and some fill up twice a week.

“With the way things are, we can’t increase prices. We supply a lot of supermarkets with duvets and pillows and they want to keep prices low. At the end of the day, they must have the same problems we do.”

Mr Hemingway said the company paid 137.4p per litre of diesel this month but, on March 1 2010, it cost 110.5p per litre. Both prices are including VAT, which the company claims back.

He said: “It costs £98.19 more each week per fill up than it did this time last year.

“The bottom line is to stay in business we have to keep supplying our customers and hope we can get it back somewhere. Everybody is in the same boat. We can’t increase costs, we have to absorb them. We can’t do that forever, but for now we have to.”

Other road users are also feeling a noticeable pinch.

Mirfield driving instructor Dean Robinson said: “It’s difficult in the driving instructors’ market to raise prices because there is a lot of competition. You do end up losing out.

“I have been trying to get as much work as I possibly can and work more hours.”

l For more on fuel prices see this week’s Reporter.