Fleet News

Transport is a problem that must be tackled

CLIMATE change is one of the most serious environmental issues facing the UK.

That is the view of Colin Matthews, head of programmes at TransportEnergy, the Government-funded scheme that provides grants to help fleets move to cleaner fleets.

He claims that as transport produces around of quarter of the UK’s CO2 emissions, there is a real need to focus on this area.

He said: ‘The UK Government is helping to address this problem partly through the car tax system. Vehicle excise duty and company car tax are structured to incentivise lower CO2 cars.

‘In practice, this has led to many company car drivers choosing diesel vehicles, which, while they perform better on CO2 than petrol versions, produce more particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen than petrol models.

‘This is a major environmental problem, since these emissions are the greatest barrier to meeting European legislation on air quality in our towns and cities.’

However, there are means of dealing with the negative aspects of diesel, according to Matthews.

He said: ‘There are cost-effective ways to ‘clean-up’ diesels however. For instance, manufacturers such as Peugeot and Citroen already fit particulate traps to some of their diesel range and other manufacturers are considering following in their footsteps.

‘Owners of vans can also make a difference by opting for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or compressed natural gas (CNG) fuelled derivatives. Such vehicles are around 20 times cleaner than their diesel equivalents in relation to air quality.’

However, there has been concern among fleets about whether to switch to the fuel after the Government questioned whether it offered the environmental incentives it originally thought possible.

There has been a suggestion that biofuels could become the new focus of Government attention, as they are not fossil-fuel based. However, LPG still remains half the price of petrol or diesel because of duty incentives.

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