Concerns voiced by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) come after Fleet NewsNet revealed fleet decision-makers are at the centre of a battle over the future of alternative fuels as the Government overhauls its clean fuel strategy.
The association, which represents best practice in the public services industry, says many authorities are entering into agreements that can last up to seven years. It is concerned that local authorities could be saddled with vehicles that are not commercially viable.
It was reported last week that the review could see radical changes to duty levels for fuels like LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), which benefits from a 40p per litre tax break, making it about half the price of diesel.
The Government is to consult stakeholders, including fleets, leasing companies and fuel providers on the future of its financial incentives and other policy measures for road fuel gas over the next few months.
But a spokesman for APSE said local authority fleets purchased LPG vehicles because of the environmental benefits that help them meet the Govern-ment's clear air and pollution targets.
'This is without the tax benefits for LPG,' he added. 'Any change in tax policy would effectively kill the LPG initiative and seriously undermine future environmental initiatives on commercial viability. They need some confidence that any potential advantages, which they have costed, will still be available.
'It would also be beneficial for the Government to indicate what it is trying to achieve in terms of sustainability with alternative fuels, with an announcement of a long-term commitment to support their usage. The current legislation extends until April 2004.'
The LPG Association has called on fleets to show their support for LPG during the Government's consultation. It is expected to reveal its findings in November's pre-Budget report.