Fleet News

Tax hike for fuel guzzlers backed

PROPOSALS that include increasing road tax to £1,800 a year for the most polluting vehicles to reduce greenhouse gases have been broadly welcomed by the UK fleet industry.

Fleet operators’ association ACFO says the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee’s report Reducing Carbon Emissions from Transport seeks to clarify the strategies required to meet the Government’s emissions targets.

One of its key recommendations is to charge no vehicle excise duty for the cleanest cars, but increasing in six £300 bands to a top rate of £1,800. It also calls for a reduction in the 70mph motorway speed limit.

A spokesman for ACFO described the calls as ‘transparent’, saying they would enable motorists to make a clear choice as to which cars to drive.

He said: ‘The current VED bands are generally perceived as too narrow to influence motorists’ vehicle choice to any degree. However, the emissions-based company car benefit-in-kind tax sharply influences choice of both fuel type and model and we have seen the majority of employees choose lower-emission vehicles.

‘The VED tax system proposed would also influence driver behaviour across the board – and not only company car drivers – which is what the benefit-in-kind system does.’

A spokesman for the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association said: ‘We do not believe the VED proposal should work retrospectively and should instead shape the future car parc, meaning motorists then have a choice.

‘Also, the DfT has already published research that suggests dropping the national speed limit will impact on Co2 emissions only marginally. It appears the committee has chosen to ignore that.’

Friends of the Earth said the report was damning on the Government’s failure to tackle climate change through its policies.

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