Fleet News

BIK gas discount plans could save drivers £170

THE Government is to be pressed to give drivers of gas-powered cars a 6% discount under the forthcoming carbon dioxide-based benefit-in-kind tax rules due to be introduced in 2002. In the March Budget, the Treasury said it was considering giving discounts in the tax system to recognise that gas powered cars emit less CO2 than conventional road fuels. The tax breaks would offset the additional cost involved in buying a liquefied petroleum gas or compressed natural gas-powered car.

Now the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association is to lobby the Government to meet that commitment and wants company car drivers with gas-powered cars to be given a reduction in BIK tax bills.

Director general Tom Fiddell said: 'We will lobby for the Government to make a commitment to provide a 6% reduction in their BIK bills. The Government has committed to providing a discount. We need to know what it will be. It should give a firm boost to the fleet operator choosing gas in 2002 and if we can get that commitment in the next few months it will allow choice lists to give consideration to the gas option.

'Not only will gas car users enjoy a reduced tax bill because they emit less CO2 than petrol, but they'll receive a double-boost through the discount.'

With a 6% discount, the BIK paid by a basic rate taxpayer in 2002/3 driving a dual fuel company car could be up to £170 a year less than for a mainstream upper medium model.

Initial signs of the Government acquiescing to its request look positive. At the LPGA Gas 2000 exhibition in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, local MP and Treasury select committee member James Paskitt said: 'The Government recognises there needs to be a good medium term

commitment to autogas. We are looking to give the right initiative.'

The March Budget statement from the Government said: 'Cars that are propelled by alternative fuels have the potential to offer significant environmental benefits. These cars also tend to be more expensive so employees could potentially face a higher tax liability. Therefore following consultation, discounts expressed as a percentage of the car's price will be introduced to mitigate the impact of their higher price.'

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