Fleet News

Fleets call for end to diesel supplement

FLEET managers have called on the Government to abolish the controversial 3% diesel company car benefit-in-kind tax levy to be introduced in April 2002. Many fleet operators are now offering company car drivers a diesel option for the first time as a way of off setting potential tax increases because diesel is carbon dioxide efficient when compared with petrol-engined vehicles.

RSPCA fleet manager Sue Tonks introduced diesel to the charity's fleet five years ago. Now with an all-diesel fleet of 600 vehicles she said: 'Fleets are opting for the new ultra-low sulphur diesel because it has become more efficient, covering more mpg than petrol and emitting fewer particulates. Diesel is getting better than petrol. There is a speedy resurgence in the number of people wanting to use diesel as alternative fuel. If the trend continues, the Government's benefit-in-kind CO2-based tax will have to be lowered or made redundant.'

Yorkshire Water said it welcomed new developments in diesel as an alternative fuel to petrol but urged fleets to get the best of both worlds by switching to liquefied petroleum gas as well. Fleet manager Howard Hughes said: 'The industry seems to want LPG and some LPG vehicles fetch better prices at auction than petrol or diesel ones. That is why our 500-strong van fleet is 50% diesel and 50% LPG/petrol. Using LPG saves us £500 per vehicle per year and our LPG infrastructure is expanding.'

The Royal National Institute for the Blind, which has a fleet of 193 cars and 32 minibuses, exercised caution and said it was too early to place new diesel car orders. Alan Miles, administrator and data protection manager, said: 'We have not made any move to introduce a diesel policy. The market has to stabilise. Fuel prices are still very high and with the general election coming up, we don't know if the Government is going to change or maintain the benefit-in-kind CO2-based tax.'

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