Fleet News

Doubts over long-term benefits of duty cuts

THE Government's fuel duty cuts present savings that amount to 'small change' for many fleets and concern is growing that the Budget savings are not being passed on to customers immediately. According to an AA survey 46% of 6,500 petrol stations failed to cut prices after Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown's Budget 2001.

However, major fuel firms, including BP and Shell, vowed they would pass on all cuts. Graham Sims, BP's head of retail in the UK, said: 'We welcome the Chancellor's measures on reducing fuel duty, and in particular his endorsement of more environmentally-such as ultra-low sulphur petrol and diesel and LPG.'

But Ray Combs, general manager of AA Business Services, argued that more had to be done to cut fuel duty in the long-term. He added: 'The Chancellor's next step must be to give a full overhaul to our creaking motoring taxation system, which was introduced by Lloyd George 80 years ago and is not capable of delivering an advanced transport system in the 21st century.'

His comments were backed by Association of Car Fleet Operators' director Stewart Whyte, who said: 'Despite some duty reductions at the margins, UK fleets still have the most expensive road fuels in Europe, with diesel at almost the same price as petrol. The Government's anti-diesel line was dented when the Chancellor announced that he was applying similar reductions to all the major road fuels.

'If diesel is as bad for air quality as has been claimed, why offer these reductions? The Chancellor clearly no longer believes that diesels are bad. He has plainly been more concerned about giving all motorists a more-or-less level playing field, rather than following through previously sacrosanct environmental tenets.'

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