Fleet News

Crunch talks over green fuel future

LEADING figures in the alternative fuel market are holding talks with the Government to call for new incentives to boost fleet demand for clean fuels.

Among the areas for discussion during the meeting with the Treasury, scheduled for this month, will be a focus on achieving greater savings for fleet users moving to clean fuels, such as liquefied petroleum gas, through more tax incentives.

Andrew Ford, corporate affairs manager for Calor Gas, which is taking part in the talks, said: 'There should be greater savings for the fleet user and for the industry. I do not think that the balance is right at present.'

The Government has already offered grants towards the cost of conversions through its PowerShift programme. It has also slashed the duty levels on gaseous fuels and offered a cut in company car tax bills to drivers of alternatively-fuelled vehicles when the new company car tax system launches.

Incentives have seen the number of alternatively-fuelled vehicles in the UK rocket to 50,000 in the past five years, with growth of about one third every three months, while there are now 1,000 LPG refuelling stations in the UK.

But Ford said more incentives were needed to reflect the overall environmental benefit of running a vehicle on gas.

The Government has stated that fleets will be at the forefront of a new drive to incentivise clean fuels that, under new proposals, could see annual sales of fuel cell, hybrid and gas-powered models reach more than 250,000 within 10 years.

The strategy was unveiled in Powering Future Vehicles, a Government document which is open to consultation until March 1. Ford said reduced taxation for drivers was the key to achieving these targets, adding: 'To keep demand from fleets growing, the next big challenge is to create a more beneficial rate of company car tax for clean fuel vehicles.'

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