PSA Peugeot Citroen is backing the benefits of using cooking oil as an alternative fuel to petrol and diesel in a bid to reduce emissions.
The manufacturer says fuel made from oilseed rape can reduce particulate emissions, attributed to diesel vehicles, that many experts blame for respiratory diseases.
This is one of the reasons why diesel vehicles will incur a 3% penalty under Britain's new company car tax regime due to take effect in April next year.
In its Environment and Automobiles 2001 Report, PSA Peugeot Citroen claims that high-pressure direct injection diesel engines running on a vegetable oil-based biofuel would see particulates drop by 22%, and declares itself 'a strong supporter of biofuel development'.
Previously it had been suggested that used cooking fat from burger restaurants could power fleet cars of the future as a cheap alternative to petrol and diesel.
But the PSA report adds that traditional diesel fuel still has a bright future and estimates that more than two million vehicles will be fitted with a high-pressure direct injection diesel engine by the end of 2001.
By contrast it warns the future of liquefied petroleum gas is less certain, saying: 'The progress made in petrol engines has closed the gap with automotive LPG engines.'
For example, high-pressure direct injection petrol engines can cut fuel consumption and improve environmental performance with lower CO2 emissions.
Meanwhile, PSA Peugeot Citroen predicts that the wait for financially viable fuel cell technology will be a long one, finally arriving after 2010.
Fuel cell vehicles would provide the basis for manufacturing electric vehicles with zero emissions and lower fuel consumption than vehicles running on fossil fuels. (December 2001)