Fleet News

Green fuels saving fleets £3m a year

FLEETS using alternative fuels are set to save more than £3 million this year alone as a result of London's congestion charging scheme.

Research from Transport- Energy has indicated that more than 2,500 drivers using alternative fuels have already received a 100% discount from the daily £5 charge to enter London.

Colin Matthews, head of customer services at Transport Energy, highlighted the benefits of making the switch.

He said: 'Switching to alternative fuels can reduce two major problems, urban pollution and global warming.

'Why pay £5 a day and pollute the environment when the simple alternative is to get a PowerShift grant to switch to an alternative fuel?'

In a Parliamentary written answer issued this week, statistics show that 3,112 cars were registered for a reduction in vehicle excise duty for using alternative fuels last September.

The Government has also allocated resources toward the 2003/04 PowerShift programme, in support of alternative fuels.

Fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG), hybrids and electric vehicles benefit from tax and congestion charge exemptions.

However, despite early indications that the congestion charge system in London is succeeding in reducing congestion, a full evaluation will need to be completed before it is extended to other parts of the country, according to the RAC Foundation.

The foundation's executive director, Edmund King, said: 'The London scheme is working well and has cut traffic in the centre by 20% without causing too many problems.

However, central London is unique. Eighty six per cent of commuters used public transport before congestion charging was introduced. In every other city the majority commute by car.'

Speaking at a conference last week, King said the number of fines issued had fallen from 34,000 in the first week of the scheme to 15,000 per week due to fewer errors being made.

London charging boosts Vauxhall Dual-fuel sales

SALES of Vauxhall alternative fuel vehicles have risen by 60% thanks to a combination of rising fuel costs and the introduction of the congestion charging scheme in London.

The rise, attributed mainly to orders from the fleet sector, came in the first quarter of this year.

Vauxhall's Dualfuel team sold 1,053 liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) powered cars and vans in the first three months of 2003, with about 90% going to fleets, compared with 2,400 units for the whole of last year.

The top-seller during the period was the Astra Dualfuel model, powered by both 1.6i and 1.8i engines capable of running on petrol and LPG. Sales of Dualfuel Vectras also rose followed by the Zafira and Astra Coupe. The best selling dual-powered van was the Combo 1.6i.

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