Green issues have long been at the forefront of fleet thinking as companies and drivers look to reduce their environmental impact.The credit crunch may have diverted attention away from the environment, but it is worth remembering how closely linked the issues are.
The two crucial CO2 emissions benchmarks – 120g/km for drivers and 160g/km for companies – highlight how going green and saving money go hand-in-hand.
For drivers choosing a car with CO2 emissions of 120g/km or less, there are benefit-in-kind tax savings, while for companies offering a fleet of vehicles, having them all under 160g/km of CO2 will attract more favourable tax treatment.
More than 430 fleet managers and decision-makers (including procurement and HR directors), took part in our survey, which covered aspects such as the viability of CO2-based taxation, car choice policies and alternatives to using cars.
And while it is clear that being green is important, the industry is divided over the efficacy of the government’s approach.
While 56% of fleet managers believe that linking taxation to CO2 emissions will work, 44% believe it won’t, likening it to a ‘stealth’ tax rather than an environmental initiative.
Q. Is there enough information available to allow you and your customers to make informed
decisions on vehicle choice and CO2 reductions?
Yes - 66% No - 34%
A significant proportion say no, but many add the rider that this is not because of a lack of awareness, but simply questioning the validity of the figures supplied.
The fuel economy and emissions tests provide benchmark figures, but some of you question how realistic these figures are in the real-world. However, as a benchmark exercise the emissions and economy figures are widely available and accessible.
'If you’re not aware of the wealth of emission
information out there, you must have
had your head in the sand for a while...'
* Many of those who drive the most polluting vehicles are those that can afford the extra tax and so will not be affected by this. Because the people that can afford to run fuel hungry cars don't care about these small charges.
* It's irrelevant because cars are not the cause of global warming because CO2 has nothing to do with causing global warming.
* This is all about raising taxes not saving the planet. It's just a means of collecting more cash.
* Needs to be an incentive rather than a penalty
* CO2 is the wrong target - particulates, Nox etc are the right target
Q. Do you think the government’s transport policy offers realistic, affordable alternatives to car dependency?
Yes - 4% No - 96%
'Public transport does not offer the flexibility of
cost-effective movement outside of
major cities... Too little and too pricey...'
* The public transport system is still a long way away from being cost effective and/or effective.
Q. Are you changing your car policy as a reaction to taxation changes?
Yes - 45% No - 55%
Q. Are your clients changing their car policies due to tax changes?
Yes - 55% No - 45%
* Vast majority have put an emissions' cap in place - a limit on CO2 emissions at 160 g/km
* Some have not changed the policy but drivers are choosing greener cars.
Q. Is there too much emphasis being placed by businesses on environmental issues?
Yes - 49% No - 51%
A slight majority think that businesses should put more emphasis on going green.
The halo effect of being able to show your eco credentials to customers seems to be a key driver.
But on the flip side, several voice concerns over the cost of going green and questioning if it is worthwhile.
'I’ve no problem with green issues,
so long as it doesn’t cost too much...'
* Many believe this is simply forcing companies to become more efficient.
* Focus on efficiency is hard to dispute.
* Less congestion, less pollution
* Video conferencing alternative is effective
Q. Is the emphasis being placed on environmental issues by companies to the detriment of other more important business issues?
Yes 49% No - 51%
'Environmental issues are very important,
but ever since the credit crunch
things have changed. It’s now about survival...'
Q. Will senior managers set an example and give up their big cars?
Yes - 16% No - 84%
That will be a resounding no then! It seems that the boardroom is unwilling to lead by example and ditch their luxury saloons in favour of more frugal cars.
But when salaries are at director level, the relative benefit-in-kind tax increase for driving an executive model is small change.
* Be serious - give up the image, the prestige, comfort & speed of a big car?
* Too mean to be green!
Q. Is the UK being tough enough with its emission targets?
Yes - 66% No - 34%
'Driving green is starting to become high status...
in relative terms, High salaries
mean the tax impact is negligible...'