Fleet News

Budget 2004: Industry unconvinced over long-term future of LPG

POTENTIAL buyers of green vehicles remain sceptical after Budget duty increases. A spokesman for the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association said: 'Throughout a long period the Chancellor undermined fleet decision-maker confidence in what is still a very immature market by refusing to confirm the future level of LPG fuel duty. Talk of increases to rates commensurate with petrol or diesel merely exacerbated a difficult situation.

The news may help to restore some of the dissipated confidence but what is needed is long-term stability if businesses are to invest the substantial sums required.

'However, the fact that there was no news of an increase in funding for the Powershift programme does not augur well for this sector.'

And the Association of Car Fleet Operators was equally unconvinced.

Stewart Whyte, director of ACFO, said: 'This spells the almost certain end of fleet interest in the fuel, except for a few highly-specific niche areas of the market. The financial argument in favour of LPG has been killed stone dead.

'The only fleets which are likely to be able to justify a financial argument in favour of LPG now are those who have niche operations, such as a number of vehicles operating inside the London congestion zone, as the congestion charge is not applicable to such vehicles.'

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