Fleet News

Government set to convert fleet to gas power

THE Government's 200-strong car fleet looks set to be converted to gas power in a pioneering move which could be the catalyst for numerous other UK fleets to follow. The Government Car and Despatch Agency is responsible for looking after the fleet of Ford, Vauxhall, Rover, Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles used by Government ministers including Prime Minister Tony Blair, senior officials and VIPs and a further 63 vehicles, largely Ford Transits, making up the London-based inter-building courier service which operates nationwide. Cars are replaced on a three-year/60,000 miles basis.

Over the last four years a number of gas powered cars have been trialled and Agency chief executive Nick Matheson said he expected to make a final decision this autumn. 'I think it is fairly likely we will opt to convert the fleet to gas. I shall be formulating a policy by the end of October,' said Matheson, who is currently holding talks with manufacturers and gas suppliers. He has issues concerning the availability of fuel and the cost of conversion to overcome but would expect the converted fleet to be a mix of bi-fuelled cars running on both compressed natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas. At the moment only cars and not vans would be converted.

A number of trials of electric and gas-powered vehicles have been carried out by the organisation including the long-term testing of two gas-powered Rover 827 Sterlings and a Calor Gas fuelled Vauxhall Vectra as well as Ford's Ecostar electric van.

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