Fleet News

Leaders call for biofuel tax cut

CHANCELLOR Gordon Brown is being urged to cut company car tax in this year’s budget for drivers who switch to biofuel-powered vehicles.

A host of automotive business leaders have signed a letter sent to the chancellor calling for fiscal incentives to promote wider use of biofuels.

The signatories of the letter, which also calls for revisions to vehicle excise duty and an increased fuel duty rebate for bioethanol E85 – a fuel made from plant products such as wheat and grain – are Saab, Ford, the National Farmers’ Union and Morrisons supermarket.

Jonathan Nash, managing director of Saab Great Britain, said: ‘We need some meaningful government intervention. So far, the government has done little to encourage the public into driving cars that can run on eco-friendly fuel sources such as bioethanol E85, whose CO2 emissions have been independently shown to be between 50% and 70% lower than emissions from petrol.

‘A £10 reduction in vehicle excise duty and a 20 pence per litre tax rebate is not enough to stimulate this new market.’

Nash said other countries, such as Sweden, France, Ireland and Japan, offered incentives to drivers and wants the UK government to follow their lead.

The government’s plan for fleets to use more biofuels by 2010 was savaged by a House of Commons select committee earlier this year (Fleet News, September 28). A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee spokesman said its approach to a policy for 5% of all road fuel to come from renewable resources was piecemeal, lacking ambition, lagging behind other European nations and needing double the effort to encourage take-up.

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