Fleet News

Government's green VED plans set to fail

THE Government's new Vehicle Excise Duty proposals to encourage 'smaller and cleaner' cars look set to fail, after a major new survey revealed that environmental factors play a minor role in fleet policies. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown unveiled the graduated VED consultation document, claiming it would incentivise new car buyers - fleets - to select 'greener' vehicles.

While corporate purchases account for the lion's share of the UK's new car market, the authoritative 1998 Lex Vehicle Leasing Report on Company Motoring, published on Friday, discovered that only 7% of fleets always take green issues into account when buying vehicles. Four in 10 businesses never prioritise environmental factors in their fleet decisions, very few have reduced their cars' engine sizes or considered alternative fuels, and most signalled their switch to unleaded petrol as their last green initiative.

'It is of great concern that companies do not consider the environment in their travel and car buying decisions,' says the Lex report. 'Information and incentives need to be put in place to encourage companies in this regard. Companies need to plan ahead and if they are being asked to be environmentally responsible they must have clear, unequivocal and reliable advice on what they should do.'

The report highlights the ambiguous approach of company car drivers to the environment. They acknowledge congestion and pollution as real problems but they also appear wedded to their company cars for journeys to and for work - 57% of drivers said they would not change their travel plans regardless of measures designed to disincentivise car use.

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