Fleet News

Call to fine makers of 'gas-guzzlers'

A POLICY adopted in the United States effectively forcing manufacturers to produce alternative fuel vehicles and fine them for producing so-called gas-guzzlers should be adopted in the UK. Instead of using grants to fleet buyers to encourage manufacturers to start producing clean fuelled vehicles, the Government should 'bully' car makers to take action with set production targets, according to Howard Wheeldon, a capital goods analyst for Metheson Investment.

Wheeldon, a co-founder of the UK's third largest private overnight parcels company which he sold to DHL International, said: 'The more one examines the issue, the more one realises that escaping the political role is impossible. I am opposed to basing policy on tax advantages for the user. I believe governments should incentivise manufacturers, and by this I mean use their bullying power to force change.'

The US Energy Policy Act (EPAct) was the 'way forward' Wheeldon said, with oil companies likely to invest heavily in an infrastructure knowing there would be a guaranteed market. In the UK, oil companies are loath to invest in alternative fuels, because increased environmental legislation has meant massive investment in improving safety and equipment levels on current forecourts.

EPAct mandates that non oil-powered vehicles as a percentage of fleet purchases increase year on year, covering natural gas, propane, hydrogen and electricity. From this year to next, that target will increase from 50% to 75%. There is also the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard. This ensures a manufacturer must obtain a weighted average of 27.5mpg for cars and 20.7mpg for sports utility vehicles and light vans. For every one tenth of a mile that a manufacturer falls under the average mileage, it can be fined $5 for every vehicle sold in that category.

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