Fleet News

'End diesel policy confusion'

FLEETS have called on the Government to end confusion over its policy on diesel after the Vehicle Excise Duty consultation document appeared to signal a U-turn in its approach to the fuel. A cursory glance at the tables of the UK's cleanest cars shows diesel's domination, and the document confirms that diesel is key to the success of Government commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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.'

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