Falling company car numbers are leading to an increase in grey fleets, said FleetCheck, citing new HMRC data. 

According to FleetCheck managing director Peter Golding, more drivers opted for the cash option during the pandemic and are now using their cars for business purposes. 

HMRC numbers show that 80,000 people have opted out of fleet schemes, highlighting a substantial growth in grey fleets. 

Golding said: “There is a relatively complex picture emerging here. Over the next few years, we expect overall company car numbers to grow as low-taxation electric vehicles (EVs) come to form the majority of fleets. 

“However, it also makes sense that in recent times, drivers who have been spending little time on the road because of lockdowns would want to opt-out of the fleet and take a cash allowance, even if only temporarily.”

The trend places greater emphasis on grey fleet management, Golding said.

Golding explained that the grey fleet is a generally neglected area of fleet management and the rising number of vehicles in this segment puts more pressure on employers in two key areas – risk management and the environment.

“Certainly, we are already having conversations with our user base about this subject, covering everything from setting the right grey fleet policies to ensuring that our software is used effectively to both make sure that drivers and vehicles meet safety standards and that the fleet carbon footprint remains on a downward trajectory,” he added. 

Golding stated that companies should be aware that their responsibilities for grey fleets are the same as for company cars. 

A company car will be safe, more environmentally friendly and generally cheaper for businesses to operate than a grey fleet equivalent, Golding noted. 

He said: “Employers need to make the advantages of moving into a very low taxation EV as clear as possible to their drivers and encourage them to follow this route.”