Fleet News

Guest opinion: Moving towards greener transport

SINCE 1991 carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from road transport have risen by 8.7%, while other sectors have seen a reduction.

The UK still has one of the highest average CO2 figures for new vehicle sales in the EU and latest figures show that, after six years of falling CO2 emissions from new privately-owned vehicles, car buyers are once again opting for larger, inefficient vehicles that pump out higher levels of carbon dioxide .

This is why the latest Budget announcement, in terms of the environment, is the best we have seen for a number of years, with several measures to really incentivise the purchase of cleaner vehicles.

The changes in VED, while moderate, send the right signals to fleet managers and company car drivers to choose cleaner vehicles.

For vehicles in the new G Band, the real test of these changes will be how residual values are impacted. While most fleets will view the increase in VED costs as modest, the secondhand market will become increasingly nervous of high CO2 cars and this will impact on wholelife costs.

With reforms to company car tax, the gauntlet has definitely been thrown down to industry to start making mainstream vehicles that fit in the lowest VED bands.

With the incentive in 2008/9 of cars sub 120 g/km being taxed by 10% instead of 15%, the challenge will now be to produce cars that meet these emissions standards while being attractive, functional fleet vehicles – and we watch with interest to see if industry rises to this.

The Energy Saving Trust is encouraged by the Government’s commitment to reforming VED by almost doubling the differentials between the highest and lowest bands.

This coupled with recent initiatives such as the introduction of a new car labelling system, which parallels those used on white goods, will enable businesses and consumers alike to make a more informed and hopefully greener vehicle choice.

Reducing average CO2 emissions from new vehicles is just one of a range of measures the Energy Saving Trust recommends in order to cut the CO2 contribution from road transport, which currently stands at a staggering 25% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions.

Others such as supporting the market for alternative fuels and increasing the use of more sustainable transport have also received greater commitment from Government recently, signalling a movement towards a cleaner transport system.

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