Van manufacturers are working with the Department for Transport (DfT) to produce a ‘meaningful list’ of CO2 emissions figures for commercial vehicles in a bid to help LCV managers green up their fleet operations.
Before January 2008, van makers were not obliged to produce either fuel economy figures or CO2 emissions figures for vans, making it virtually impossible for operators to choose more environmentally-friendly vehicles.
While the rules changed on January 1, forcing makers to produce these figures, there is still no legal obligation for them to be published.
This led to a campaign from some sectors of the industry calling for such figures to be put in the public domain.
Tony Grove, product development manager at Arval, said: “Not all manufacturers release figures for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for their light commercial vehicles, making it difficult for fleet managers to select vehicles based on their initial environmental performance.
"The principal argument is that they would not give a true picture.
“This is because commercial vehicles operate with a variety of payloads, bodies and duty cycles, and any ‘base level’ figures can only be a guide.
"But even guide figures are better than no figures and I am hopeful that there is room for compromise.”
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has also called for CO2 figures to be released.
Director general John Lewis said: “We understand that the SMMT is now in discussion with the DfT about publishing the emissions figures, probably via the Vehicle Certification Agency. In the meantime, we are working with consultants to provide the data on our website within the next few weeks.
“The European Commission is currently reviewing the way van emissions are measured but this could take years. When our members talk to their customers they are regularly asked for information about van emissions.
"Many of them are operating thousands of vans and their decisions have a major impact on the UK environment.”
But a spokesman for the SMMT defended the actions of van manufacturers in producing CO2 figures.
He said: “We could produce a list of these figures now but they would be pretty meaningless to van buyers.
“The test is done with the vehicle empty and on a rolling road, which means that a high- roof vehicle would have the same CO2 figure as a low-roof one, when obviously on the road it would be higher.
“Fleet buyers already have this information when they buy vehicles and small operators just have to ask.
"We will produce these figures but we want to make sure that when we do, they will be of use to buyers and we are working with the DfT on a solution to the problem.”
The spokesman admitted, however, that at present there was no date fixed for when a comprehensive list of CO2 figures would be published.