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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1: only an idiot would choose diesel

SIR – What’s the point of Citroen and Toyota launching diesel versions of the C1 and Aygo in the UK? You’d have to be pretty stupid to think choosing the diesel over the petrol model was worthwhile.

Based on today’s fuel prices, the higher price for diesel on the forecourt and the combined fuel consumption of the petrol and diesel engines in these cars (61.4mpg v 68.9mpg), you’d have to travel about 250,000 miles in the diesel to break even on the £1,100 premium – that’s more than the distance to the moon.

Cars are generally well-built these days, but I’d be surprised if any would still be around with 250,000 on the clock.

It’s likely that after three years there would be a small premium for a diesel C1 or Aygo over the petrol model, and the service interval on the Citroen at least is longer than that for the petrol so SMR costs should be a little lower. But it still wouldn’t make much of a dent in £1,100.

The diesel premium is the same across Europe. Elsewhere buyers have to stump up an extra E1,600 for the diesel version, but diesel is much cheaper at the pumps in most other European markets.

Which brings me back to the question: what’s the point? Are these manufacturers blind to the economics of this ridiculous situation, or are they fully aware of the facts but still hope enough customers will be foolish enough to choose diesel without being well informed?

Public sector must lead green trail

SIR – Your front page article on the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) report (‘Government in dark on its own fleet’, Fleet NewsNet, January 5), brought into sharp focus the fact that some Government departments have failed to hit their CO2 targets and that fleet policies are partly to blame.

Although alternative fuels are a key target for the public sector, our discussions with fleet managers have demonstrated that many are concerned over the availability of both fuel and viable vehicle options.

Plus, of course, diesels are getting more environmentally-friendly every year and the typical public sector driver already chooses a cleaner, smaller-engined vehicle than the equivalent private sector company car driver.

So even though 10% of Government fleets do need to be alternatively-fuelled by March, there is scope for a more aggressive approach to ‘greening’ the other nine out of 10 vehicles.

The SDC report goes on to commend the Government for agreeing to offset the carbon emissions of its air travel as of April this year.

Being carbon-neutral is clearly the way forward for public sector aviation and we believe that the same thinking should be applied to vehicle fleets.

Offsetting fleet emissions, such as by planting additional trees, will help public sector fleets meet or exceed their environmental targets.

It also enables drivers to keep their preferred cost-effective diesels, secure in the knowledge that they are being sufficiently green.

In our experience as public sector fleet specialists, environmental motoring is an area where public bodies want to be leading the way and not taking a back seat to their private sector counterparts.

Lesley Slater
Director, Automotive Leasing, Rustington, West Sussex

Figures do not add up for vans

SIR – Reading the story on tax hike for van drivers (Fleet NewsNet, December 22), a couple of points spring to mind.

How can the Government tax a van (say, a Volkswagen Caddy) costing around £11,500, the same as a family saloon-priced vehicle? Taking the new £3,000 tax liability for private use and an average of 150g CO2 on a Euro IV vehicle, the P11d would have to be £17,647 for a 4/5 seater vehicle with comfort for all. You could not legally take the family out in the back of a van.

How can a van with two seats and no secure boot be taxed higher than a car? On private mileage, I feel companies which currently have drivers paying tax and having this use cannot withdraw it, but could implement a clause in their vehicle policy, as we do.

Surely if van drivers pay this tax, they could ask for estate cars to the value of the tax they are paying. Put a ceiling on this, but a van cannot be taxed higher than a car in my eyes.

Ann Dukanovic
Fleet manager, Kaba Door Systems

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