Fleet News

Ministers go green as Labour backs hybrids

THE new Labour government is revamping its company car fleet and at the same time setting an environmental example.

Ministers running company cars such as petrol and diesel Rovers and Jaguars are being offered new electric-hybrids as the Government strives to meet official targets on CO2 emissions.

Nine Ministers have so far taken delivery of the petrol-electric Toyota Prius hybrids since the Government Car Service began offering them on choice lists, but there are plans to introduce more onto the 80-strong Government fleet this year.

A spokesman for Toyota said: ‘The Prius has been introduced through the Government’s fleet department policy list for junior Ministers.

‘It is encouraging that nine have already opted for the Prius. Two more have already been ordered and we estimate that the department will take on a total of 25 by the end of the year.’

National newspapers reported last week that Environment Minister Elliot Morley is one of the new Prius owners.

Morley said: ‘It is excellent, when you accelerate, the petrol engine kicks in with the electric battery so you get good acceleration. It is also really quiet. The downside is that when you are driving, people cannot hear it coming. I almost ran over someone in the House of Lords who did not know I was there.’

Ministers are expected to use the Prius at the G8 summit next month, which will focus on climate change. The Prius is exempt from the London congestion charge and is one of the cleanest cars on the road, producing only 104g/km of CO2.

National newspapers criticised John Prescott, as he will continue to use his Jaguar rather than the Prius.

However, a spokesman for the Cabinet Office, which oversees the allocation of cars to Ministers, said that Prescott’s Jaguar runs on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than standard fuel.

Greenpeace in 4x4 handcuffs protest

GREENPEACE has protested against the sales of what it describes as ‘the most gas-guzzling 4x4s on sale’ by targeting seven Land Rover dealerships across the country.

Volunteers from the environmental campaigner entered dealerships in London, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Southampton last Saturday and handcuffed themselves to models including the Range Rover and Land Rover Discovery.

Greenpeace executive director Stephen Tindale said: ‘Land Rover bosses are climate criminals, they continue to build and sell some of the most polluting and climate-damaging cars around today.’

Last month, Greenpeace called on the fleet industry to join the backlash against sport utility vehicles by banning them from choice lists (Fleet NewsNet, May 26).

Land Rover bosses claimed the average fuel consumption of the Land Rover fleet was more than 30mpg.

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