Fleet News

Powershift to push for extra £20m cash

DEMAND for alternatively- fuelled vehicles will double next year and could lead to a £20 million boost for the Government-sponsored Powershift programme.

The programme is beginning negotiations over the future size of its grant, but in the pre-Budget Report, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown announced a doubling of resources for cleaner vehicle incentives.

Next year will be a crucial time in the alternative fuel industry, when it is believed the market will reach a 'critical mass' that will see a boom in demand. In the pre-Budget report, the Government pledged to double resources for cleaner vehicle initiatives, including Powershift.

Powershift executives are expecting increased financial support as interest in alternative fuels gathers momentum. This year, the total number of alternatively-fuelled vehicles taking to the roads for the first time will be 15,000, but during next year that could more than double to 34,000.

A spokesman for the scheme said: 'We have yet to put forward a package for how much we need next year. The Government is aware there will be significant growth next year in the alternative fuel car parc and although we will not be funding all of it, we will need to supply more money.

Jonathan Murray, head of transport at the Energy Saving Trust, welcomed the incentive and said the economic argument for switching to alternative fuels such as LPG was powerful: 'Fleets which are looking at what's involved with switching to LPG are finding there is hard cash to be saved. LPG vehicles are not being used for the environmental benefit but for the cost saving.'

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