Company cars are cutting their mileage with improved journey management techniques, according to data from the Department for Transport's National Travel Survey. High fuel prices, growing environmental concerns and new technology are all enabling firms to reduce their fuel consumption, which is leading to improved cost performance for travel firms. The Department for Transport (DfT) survey has revealed that from 2002-2012, average company car mileage fell 4.4 per cent, from 20,300 to 19,400 miles; average annual business mileage reduced by 12.7 per cent, from 8,700 to 7,600 miles. Improvements in driver awareness, education, GPS and telematics software is allowing drivers to reduce their overall mileage by employing improved driving practices. Many fleet drivers are now given advice on how to reduce their fuel consumption by driving in the most fuel efficient gear for particular speeds, with GPS also allowing drivers to find the shortest possible route. However, commuting mileage in company cars increased by 20.3 per cent from 5,900 to 7,100 miles. Some have suggested that this is a result of economic conditions meaning workers have to take jobs further from their homes. The survey also found that the recession strategy to extend replacement fleet cycles is slowing down, with vehicles now being changed more frequently. Hitachi Captial Car Solutions, for example, has seen its average annual mileage reduce from 19,308 to 18,156, with fleet cycles falling from 40 months to 38 months; their average contract term has also fallen by five months from this time last year. Tim Bowden, Hitachi's head of operations, said: 'In our experience, fleets are looking at greater journey planning and efficiencies to maximise utilisation of the car and driver and drive down fuel use where possible.î Manheim, the car auction firm, has seen average company mileage fall by 18 per cent from 2004. Nigel Fletcher, group development director for Manheim, said: 'Company car mileage has been affected by two trends; economics and technology. 'What's more, with the increasing cost of running a vehicle and improvements within online technology to hold virtual meetings, we would naturally expect the number of business miles to fall. 'However, as people have to commute further in a competitive jobs market, they will naturally face increased private mileage. 'The fall in average mileage has not had a material effect on the total end of life mileage of vehicles at disposal, because we have seen a 21% increase in the age of vehicles over the past decade. 'This means that vehicles disposed of today have very similar mileages to those of 2004.î For business owners seeking to maximise the usage of their company vehicles, you may be interested to find out more about IT Fleet's wealth of fleet management, appraisal, refurbishment, transport and storage services. Click here to find out more.