Employers are being urged to go beyond the demands of legislation and do more to reduce and offset their vehicle emissions to improve air quality.
This includes adopting the latest hybrid technology and other clean fuels and rethinking the need to drive at all, according to the RAC Foundation for Motoring.
Executive director Edmund King said manufacturers needed long-term support and consistency of policy from the Government, while industry had to do more to direct drivers.
He said: ‘People say they care about the environment, but there is a gap between what they say and doing something about it. We need to help change that through early adopters such as fleets to change the status of low carbon cars.’
Mike Euripedes, senior policy adviser for Asthma UK, said reducing emissions would bring health benefits as well.
He said: ‘A total of 5.2 million people in the UK have asthma and 1.1 million are children. Fourteen people a day die from it and 66% of sufferers say traffic fumes trigger asthma symptoms, which is 3.5 million people across the UK.’
But he said 76% of asthma sufferers interviewed felt drivers were not doing enough by not driving, with 71% saying the Government had to take more action and 56% saying car manufacturers should do more to cut emissions as well.’
Euripedes claimed research showed that three-quarters of people would turn to alternative fuels, or hybrids, if there was the incentive to do so.
Bill Sneyd, operations director of the CarbonNeutral Company, which has put together a greener driving pack, said if a quarter of cars were fuel efficient, it would save 335,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to taking 90,000 cars off the road.
They were speaking at the launch of the new Honda Civic Hybrid, which is one of a number of new petrol/electric cars designed to cut emissions.
Honda revealed research showing 51% of drivers had never heard of hybrid cars, despite the potential savings they offer, while 77% wanted financial incentives if they were going to change.