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It’s vital to closely watch advisory fuel rates. Here’s why.

What are advisory fuel rates?

If you’re driving a company car (or van), the latest advisory fuel rates (AFRs) are what you need to keep an eye on. Refreshed every three months to reflect shifting prices at the pump, they set a per-mile rate for reclaiming fuel expenses if you’re out on business. Employers can also use them to claim back fuel for private mileage – for example, if drivers are using a fuel card. 

Autocar’s company car tax calculator shows exactly what you’ll pay for every make and model

Of course, that fuel cost depends on what you’re driving, so the system is fairly granular. There are specific AFRs for petrol, diesel and LPG vehicles, each of which also has different rates depending on the size of the engine. Rates are calculated based on an average fuel efficiency figure for vehicles sold to fleets and the latest forecourt prices across the UK, rounded to the nearest whole penny. 

From 1 September, this is 185.2p/litre for diesel, 174.2p/litre for petrol and 83.7p/litre for LPG, and are as follows:

Petrol cars and vans:

Engine size Average Efficiency Cost per mile AFR
Up to 1,400cc 51.9mpg 15.3p 15p
1,401-2,000cc  44.1mpg 18.0p 18p
Over 2,000cc 28.8mpg 27.5p 27p

Diesel cars and vans:

ENGINE SIZE AVERAGE EFFICIENCY COST PER MILE AFR
Up to 1,600cc 60.7mpg 13.9p 14p
1,601-2,000cc 49.8mpg 16.9p 17p
Over 2,000cc 38.8mpg 21.7p 22p

LPG cars and vans:

ENGINE SIZE AVERAGE EFFICIENCY COST PER MILE AFR
Up to 1,400cc 41.5mpg 9.2p 9p
1,401-2,000cc 35.3mpg 10.8p 11p
Over 2,000cc 23.0mpg 16.5p 17p

What are the mileage rates for electric and hybrid cars?

HMRC doesn’t class electricity as a fuel, so it took until 2018 to introduce a mileage rate specifically for electric vehicles. The Advisory Electric Rate (AER) is calculated similarly to an AFR, based on energy-efficiency data and the average cost of a unit of electricity at home. This is currently a flat rate of 5p per mile for all EVs. 

Hybrids still don’t have their own AFRs. All hybrids, including plug-ins, are reimbursed at the same rates as a petrol or diesel car, based on their engine size. 

Can employers set their own rates?Yes, but it’s complicated. HMRC says businesses can adjust the rates if they’re leaving drivers out of pocket or the actual travel costs are much lower, which could be useful for plug-in hybrids. However, they have to provide evidence showing why that adjustment was needed, and any excess can be taxed. 

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