Fleet News

Quick way to end pollution?

'I WAS talking to a colleague the other week and he had heard a new theory on what we need to do to reduce vehicle emissions and clean up the environment.

It is a known fact that the world only has so much fossil fuel left and nobody knows how much, or how long, it will last – 10 years, 50 years, or more. But however long it lasts, burning it in the internal combustion engine will continue to contribute towards pollution.

This theory argues that we should all be using 6.0-litre, gas guzzling, 15mpg monsters, thereby making the world oil reserves last for a very short time and not prolonging it by using economical, but still polluting, vehicles.

Manufacturers will only go into top gear and produce genuinely environmentally-friendly vehicles when they really have to – and that is when there is no longer any oil.

In the short term the pollution would be horrendous, but in no time at all we could all look forward to a cleaner future.

It took a similar disaster to the environment in London back in the days of the smog, where they couldn't see a few feet in front of them. Technology had to change and indeed it did – for the better.

This theory is, of course, potentially flawed in all respects, but it is interesting to wonder how much quicker we would see really clean vehicles and not just a handful of either converted or hybrid ones that still, after all, depend on oil, albeit in smaller quantities.

Talking of the future development of the car, I had a smart over the Christmas holiday and although I had another vehicle that was more substantial in both terms of size and engine capacity, I found myself using the funky runabout more than I had imagined when it first arrived.

I did almost 400 miles in it without really going anywhere, just popping into town, or down to the supermarket. It was great fun to use, easy to park and very good on fuel. I have had a smart before, but didn't really use it, as it was during normal work time and going up and down the motorway didn't really appeal.

But for local trips it is perfect, once you have got used to people staring and sniggering. When you've parked your car and they haven't, their smiles soon turn into frustration.

Every home should have one, but the problem is they seem to be too expensive for such a small car. As my neighbour put it: 'You can have a proper car for £6,000'.

Maybe he is right, but he is also missing the point. In other European countries, they have become the norm and even a fashion statement.

If fuel prices are expected to rise, as has been predicted, then perhaps these little niche cars will at last come into their own. It's easy for people to laugh at them, but that's because they haven't driven one. The smart approach is the way forward, but unfortunately acceptance by many blinkered Brits is still some way off.'

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