Fleet News

Makers claim clean engine progress is not recognised

MANUFACTURERS have accused the Government of failing to recognise the huge environmental progress they have made in producing cleaner new vehicles and engines. Car makers have already signed an agreement with the European Commission to reduce average emissions from their new cars to 140 grammes of CO2 per kilometre by 2008.

Volkswagen UK director Robin Woolcock said: 'Modern cars are massively more environmentally friendly than they were three or four years ago. But the industry has not performed a great job in telling the Government what has been done. However, basing VED on emissions has to be the way to go as long as it is based on accurate scientific criteria. It is the whole industry's responsibility now to tell people that larger-engined cars can be as economically friendly as smaller ones.'

A spokesman for Volvo said the consultation document could have done more to emphasise the need for a 'cradle to grave' approach to vehicle pollution. Mitsubishi welcomed the move to tax new vehicles according to emissions, but said the Government was 'fudging the issue' by proposing to base charges for older cars on engine size.

A Citroen spokesman said: 'Large cars can have similar credentials to much smaller cars. Large cars are automatically not less clean than smaller vehicles.' Ford is still evaluating the document, but a spokesman said: 'We are anxious the Government does not create taxes which cause market distortions. People should not be prevented from buying a car.'

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