But this conflicts with the Treasury's anti-diesel stance at the pumps. The consultation document does say, however, that diesel-fuelled cars emit about 10 times the fine particles and up to twice the oxides of nitrogen of comparable petrol-fuelled vehicles. 'There is therefore a case on air quality grounds for adding, for example, 10% to the rate determined on the carbon dioxide emission basis,' it says.
Even this would mean that a diesel achieving the maximum £50 discount from the current £150 rate would see a rise to £110, still saving £40 on the current excise duty rate. Di Rees, business services manager for Leo Pharmaceuticals: 'The Government certainly seems to be countering what it has been doing for the past few years. If it doesn't know which fuel is best, then there is certainly very little that we can do about it. But this Government is consulting more than previous administrations and hopefully the expertise that is out there will bring a lot of help.'