How can the Government help the fleet industry improve its environmental performance?
By providing greater incentives/tax breaks for low/zero emission vehicles and further investment in infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles.
Those are the things at the top of the fleet operator’s wish list, according to Fleet News’s annual green survey.
The Government has been providing grants for plug-in cars and vans for some time now but uptake has been low with registrations for eligible cars growing by 14% to 1,557 in the first half of 2013, compared to the previous six months.
There has been even less appetite for the plug-in van grant with registrations of eligible vans falling by 27%, from 163 registrations in the last six months of 2012 to 119 in the first half of 2013. This suggests that the current incentives do not go far enough.
Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the BVRLA, says: “As bulk purchasers, fleet operators could create a huge surge in demand for plug-in vehicles if they were given the right package of incentives.
“Unfortunately, the current tax regime actually encourages many fleets not to run plug-in vehicles.
“The Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) recently launched its new strategy and announced that it would look to develop a ‘strong, clear and lasting’ set of tax incentives. This work cannot happen soon enough.”
Survey respondents told Fleet News that they would like “higher levels of grants for low/zero carbon vehicles”, “a greater reduction in BIK for lower CO2 vehicles” and “an acknowledgement that it takes three years for fleets to be renewed so introducing new taxes without giving advanced notice of changes doesn’t help at all”.
One fleet operator warns: “Introducing taxation for zero emission cars, without providing a mechanism for reimbursement on fleets, may well kill electric in its tracks.
“A more holistic approach needs to be taken that concentrates more on business inducements and less on domestic incentives.”
On the subject of infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles, there were calls for the Government to invest in hydrogen fuel stations, fast charging points for electric vehicles and business charging points for electric vehicles.
Fleet operators also called for the Government to be consistent with its policies.
One respondent says: “The Government is weak at sticking to a policy, making investment decisions harder and leading to more conservative purchases.”
Another fleet operator asks for “consistency of messages/intentions regarding low emission vehicles”.
Despite the feeling that there is more support needed from Government, many fleet operators have already significantly lowered their fleet’s CO2 emissions.