More than half (59%) of the respondents to Fleet News’ annual green survey now have average CO2 emissions below 130g/km on their car fleet.
This compares to 43% this time last year, although the sample is not identical to the 2011 survey.
Companies also now appear to have greater awareness about their fleet’s average CO2 emissions.
The number of companies answering ‘don’t know’ has fallen markedly, from a fifth of respondents to just 12%.
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents say average CO2 emissions for their new car orders is 120g/km or below.
This is likely to be as a result of manufacturers steadily lowering emissions as well as forthcoming tax changes.
Currently, 160g/km is the threshold for the main rate of capital allowances for business cars but as of April next year it will fall to 130g/km.
The threshold above which the lease rental restriction applies will also reduce from 160g/km to 130g/km.
The CO2 emissions threshold below which cars are eligible for the 100% first-year allowance (FYA) will also be reduced from 110g/km to 95g/km, and leased business cars will no longer be eligible for the FYA.
Company car benefit-in-kind tax rates from 2014-2016 will see the appropriate percentage of list price subject to an increase of 1% for cars emitting more than 75g/km of CO2 to a maximum of 35% in 2014–15 and by 2%, to a maximum of 37%, in 2015–16 and 2016–17.
Lowering CO2 caps
Ceuta Healthcare is one of the companies preparing for the tax changes. It is lowering its CO2 emissions cap to 130g/km as of April 1, 2013. Others are opting for even lower caps, such as 120g/km and 90g/km.
The Commercial Group says it is reducing the number of high-emission vehicles and introducing new thresholds in the policy.
Simon Graham, environmental strategist at the Commercial Group, says: “Today most major manufacturers have a number of desirable models under 120g/km and it is possible for many fleets to specify 120g/km as standard.”
He believes there have been “dramatic improvements” in the availability and infrastructure of low-carbon vehicles.
“I am optimistic that vehicles below 75g/km will not be a rare thing in the near future,” he says.
Respondents who have not yet lowered their emissions cap are busy reviewing car policies.
For example, one fleet manager says they are “reviewing choice lists with ‘green’ criteria in mind and one eye on the tax system changes”.