Fleet News

Tax bargains galore as CO2 levels driven down

FLEET managers can choose from more than 400 cars that incur the lowest tax liability in the new carbon dioxide-based company car tax regime, latest figures reveal.

The Vehicle Certification Agency statistics show a massive number of models available for fleet drivers, ranging from superminis to upper medium and executive cars.

The new CO2-based tax regime, along with CO2-based vehicle excise duty, encourages drivers to opt for cleaner cars by taxing them on emissions, starting at 15% of a car's P11D price for vehicles producing 165g/km or less and rising to 35% for vehicles producing 265g/km or more.

There is a 3% supplement for diesel drivers, while motorists using alternative fuels are offered a series of discounts, depending on the fuel they choose.

The choice available according to the latest VCA data, published in its New Car Fuel Consumption and Emission Figures booklet, is a 9% increase on the models available last year, a clear sign of the progress made by manufacturers.

In the latest edition of the VCA guide, there are 408 vehicles which emit 165g/km or less, qualifying drivers for the lowest tax band this year. Of those, 271 emit 155g/km or less, putting them in the lowest tax band of 15% for the 2003/2004 tax year, while 171 emit 145g/km or less, putting them in the lowest tax band until 2005.

The figures also prove that effective management of choice lists can keep fuel bills down for fleet managers and tax bills down for drivers.

Drivers are spoilt for choice if they opt for a diesel, with heavy-oil engines making up 212 of the vehicles in the list. However, drivers of diesel-engined cars pay a 3% supplement on their tax bills, to reflect concerns over the health effects of diesel emissions.

Options include Ford's new Fiesta, with its 1.4-litre TDCi engine, along with 1.4-litre diesel-engined versions of the Renault Clio, Citroen C3, Toyota Yaris, Audi A2, Seat Arosa and Peugeot 206. The 1.5-litre Renault Clio diesel, 1.7-litre Vauxhall Astra and 2.0-litre Peugeot 206 join the list of the 30 vehicles with the lowest CO2 emissions. Drivers looking for larger cars also have a wide variation of models to choose from, including 1.9-litre diesel models from almost the entire Volkswagen Group range, covering Audi, VW, Skoda and SEAT.

Ford's Mondeo in both TDdi and TDCi formats offer emissions of 156g/km, while the new Vauxhall Vectra is likely to be included shortly. Peugeot's 406, the Citroen C5 and the majority of upper-medium fleet contenders are also present. Executive models are also part of the list, including the BMW 320d and diesel versions of the Audi A6 Avant, Rover 75 saloon, Saab 9-3 and Volvo S80.

While engines for diesel drivers range up to 2.2 litres, choices of petrol engines in the low emissions category are more limited, with a maximum of 1.8-litres on offer from manufacturers including Volvo, for the S/V40.

The lowest emissions model is the Smart City Coupe, offering 113g/km, although its diminutive size and 600cc engine limits it to a niche market.

The first mainstream car with a petrol engine to appear in the list, the Perodua Kelisa, emitting 121g/km from its 989cc engine, lies in 39th place.

Larger models include the Honda Jazz 1.4-litre, Vauxhall Corsa 1.0-litre, Renault Clio 1.2-litre, Fiat Punto 1.2, SEAT Ibiza 1.2, Toyota Yaris 1.1, Volkswagen Polo 1.2 and Audi A2 1.4. Drivers looking for a larger vehicle can choose from models including the Honda Civic 1.4 and new 1.4-litre or 1.6-litre Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 206 1.6 and most other mainsteam models.

Choice is more limited for larger cars, with the Proton Impian 1.6 emitting 161g/km and the Mitsubishi Space Star producing 162g/km, while the Renault Megane 1.4 and 1.6 produce 165g/km.

Drivers of alternatively- fuelled vehicles have a number of options that would put them in the lowest tax band, according to the latest figures.

The car listed with the lowest emissions is the Honda Insight hybrid petrol/electric car, with emissions of just 80g/km from its 1.0-litre engine, while the Toyota Prius emits 120g/km from its 1.5-litre engine.

For drivers of liquefied petroleum gas or compressed natural gas-powered vehicles, engine choices range up to 2.5-litres, available from Volvo in the S80, because of the lower emissions the fuel produces.

Vauxhall's LPG range is absent from the guide, despite the manufacturer offering the dual fuel option in almost its entire range.

As part of its publication, the Vehicle Certification Authority has also produced a 13-point guide to ensuring emissions on the road are kept as low possible.

Advice includes the most effective measure, not using the car at all, while other options cover route planning, smooth driving, ensuring vehicle tyre pressures are correct and using the air conditioning sparingly.

The booklet says: 'Compared to improvements in the emissions of toxic pollutants, there has been less progress on reducing CO2 emissions from cars However, there are signs that in the last few years, average fuel consumption has begun to drop in reponse to voluntary agreements by vehicle manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions.'

Top tips for greener driving

  • Try to avoid using your car for short journeys - use public transport, ride a bike or walk
  • Plan ahead - choose uncongested routes, combine trips, car share
  • Cold starts - drive off as soon as possible after starting
  • Drive smoothly and efficiently - harsh acceleration and heavy braking have a very significant effect on fuel consumption. Driving more smoothly saves fuel
  • Slow down - driving at high speeds significantly increases fuel consumption
  • Use higher gears as soon as traffic conditions allow
  • Switch off - sitting stationary is zero miles per gallon. Switch off the engine whenever it is safe to do so
  • Lose weight - don't carry unnecessary weight, remove roof racks when not in use
  • Regular servicing helps keep the engine at best efficiency
  • Keep the pressure up - make sure the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure for the vehicle
  • Do not compromise safety but be aware that the use of onboard electrical devices increases fuel consumption
  • Check your fuel consumption - it will help you get the most from the car. Changes in overall fuel consumption may indicate a fault
  • Use air-conditioning sparingly - running air-conditioning continuously will increase fuel consumption significantly.

    Top performing cars for carbon dioxide emissions
    Model Engine Fuel CO2 emissions(g/km)
    Honda Insight 995cc Diesel 80
    Citroen C3 1.4 HDi 1,398cc Diesel 110
    Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 80 1,461cc Diesel 110
    Citroen C3 1.4 HDi (70bhp) 1,398cc Diesel 112
    MCC Smart City Coupe 599cc Petrol 113
    Peugeot 206 1.4 HDi (70bhp) 1,399cc Diesel 113
    Toyota Yaris 1.4 D-4D S/GS 3dr 1,364cc Diesel 113
    Ford Fiesta 1.4 TDCi CL 1,399cc Diesel 114
    Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 65bhp 1,481cc Diesel 115
    Ford Fusion 1.4 TDCi 1,399cc Diesel 116
    Ford Fiesta 1.4 TDCi LX/Zetec/Ghia 1,399cc Diesel 117
    Toyota Yaris 1.4 D-4D GLS/CDX 1,364cc Diesel 117
    Toyota Yaris 1.4 D-4D 5-door 1,364cc Diesel 117
    Audi A2 (Std/SE/Sport) 1.4 1,422cc Diesel 117
    SEAT Arosa 1.4 TDi 1,422cc Diesel 119
    Vauxhall Astra ECO4 LS 1.7 DTi 1,686cc Diesel 119
    Vauxhall Astra 1.7DTi 16v ECO4 1,686cc Diesel 119
    Volkswagen Lupo 1.4 (75bhp) 1,390cc Diesel 119
    Volkswagen Lupo 1.7 (60bhp) 1,716cc Diesel 119
    Ford Fiesta 1.8 TDdi E-Diesel 1,753cc Diesel 120
    Peugeot 206 2.0 HDi (90bhp) ECO 1,997cc Diesel 120
    Peugeot 307 1.4 HDi (70bhp) 1,398cc Diesel 120
    Toyota Prius 1.5 VVT-i Hybrid 1,497cc Petrol hybrid 120
    Perodua Kelisa EX 989cc Petrol 121
    Daihatsu Cuore 1.0L EFi 989cc Petrol 124
    Peugeot 307 Estate/SW 1.4 HDi (70bhp) 1,398cc Diesel 124
    Volkswagen Polo 1.4 TDi PD 75bhp 1,422cc Diesel 124
    Vauxhall Corsa 2002 1.7 DTi 16v 1,686cc Diesel 124
    Daihatsu Sirion 1.0L EFi 989cc Petrol 129
    Fiat Punto JTD 1,910cc Diesel 130
    Suzuki Swift 1.0GL/GLS 3dr +5dr 993cc Petrol 130
    Vauxhall Astra 2002 1.7DTi 16v 1,686cc Diesel 132
    Skoda Fabia Classic 1.9 SDI (64bhp) 1,896cc Diesel 132
    Vauxhall Astra 2002 1.7 DTi 16v est 1,686cc Diesel 132
    Volkswagen Polo 1.9 SDI 64bhp 1,896cc Diesel 132
    Toyota Yaris Verso 1.4 D-4D 1,364cc Diesel 133
    Honda Jazz 1.4i-DSI 1,339cc Petrol 134
    Honda Civic 1.7 SE 1,686cc Diesel 134
    Suzuki Alto 993cc Petrol 134
    Daihatsu Sirion 1.3L EFi 1,298cc Petrol 135
    SEAT Ibiza 1.9 TDi (100bhp) 1,896cc Diesel 135
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