Diesel produces very low CO2 emissions, but does not suffer the refuelling infrastructure problems of gaseous fuels like LPG and CNG.
Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, Ian McAllister, co-chairman of the Cleaner Vehicles Task Force, who was speaking at the launch of the Motorvate scheme, threw his backing behind diesel.
He said: 'The jury is out over whether LPG or CNG will form a substantial element of the car parc moving forward. There are strong benefits in both petrol and diesel for the company car and we want drivers to think about using fuel more efficiently. But with the need to reduce CO2 substantially by 2008, there could be a 40% increase in diesels entering the market.'
Nigel Trotman, central services manager for inaugural Motorvate member Whitbread and joint winner of the Fleet News Fleet Manager of the Year (over 250 vehicles) award, said: 'It was music to my ears - it has to be the way forward. At the moment the fleet is 23% diesel, but we are already starting to see it take a larger percentage of the fleet, particularly for executive cars.'
The Government said it was not aiming to encourage particular fuels, but simply promote cleaner fleets.'