Last year, it was revealed that the UK Government had been working with the European Commission to list the fuel efficiency of every light goods vehicle on sale by 2005 (Fleet News, October 3, 2003).
If the Government had succeeded in introducing a fuel efficiency guide for every van available in the UK, it would have made the introduction of environmentally-based taxes easier. However, it would have met resistance from van drivers who say they have no control over what vehicles they drive.
Robin Dickeson, manager of commercial vehicle affairs at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in the UK said: 'Labelling is on the agenda, but it's probably two or three years away yet.'
Dickeson added that there were concerns among manufacturers about fuel consumption labels for vans because it was 'extraordinarily difficult to define a typical and realistic duty cycle for such vehicles.'
Should they be tested fully or partly laden, with diminishing loads, on journeys with several stops and so on?
These points did not apply to cars which were all the same general shape and had more or less the same loads at all times. Herman Meyer, director of environment policy at the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) said that existing EU rules were 'about measuring - not about labelling,' although the collection of statistics could provide the basis for a labelling regime in the future, if clear emissions patterns emerge from them.
The UK Government this year, in its Budget, revealed that from April 6, 2005, private use tax charge will be scrapped for van drivers if private use is only a journey from home to work. From April 6, 2007, the scale charge for unrestricted private van use will increase to £3,000, with additional charge of £500 for free fuel.