New data from ALD Automotive, which operates a fleet of almost 60,000 vehicles, reveals that in the first nine months of 2010 average CO2 emissions of new company cars delivered to customers dropped to an all-time low of 142.6 g/km.
That compares with an average figure of 145.5 g/km last year and 166.8 g/km in 2003, the year ALD began recording CO2 emissions data.
ALD’s analysis of the company cars it has delivered this year to customers also reveals that 81% have been diesel powered, 18% petrol-engined with the remainder being hybrids. ALD currently has almost 300 hybrid models on its fleet.
Currently almost 11% of the company cars on the ALD fleet are sub-120 g/km vehicles, which mean employees qualify for the special 10% rate of benefit-in-kind tax (13% on diesel models), with two-thirds falling in the 120-160 g/km category.
The data also reveals that the average emission level of company cars added to the organisation’s fleet is lower than the national average of new car CO2 figures as produced by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Last year average CO2 emissions for all new cars taking to the UK’s road fell to 149.5 g/km, a 5.4% fall (8.5 g/km) on 2008, which was the largest improvement since SMMT records began in 1997. Average emissions for new company cars in 2009, according to the SMMT, was 151.1 g/km (2008: 158.4 g/km), while average emissions for new cars supplied to private customers were 147.9 g/km (2008: 157.6 g/km) with sales significantly influenced by the scrappage incentive scheme, which has now concluded.
With further tax rises scheduled - benefit-in-kind tax thresholds are due to tighten by 5% on April 6 next year and by a similar amount in 2012/13, vehicle capital allowances will reduce from April 1 next year and fuel duty is due to rise again on January 1, 2011 - ALD expects average new company car emissions to drop below 140 g/km over the coming months.
Additionally, fleet decision-makers and drivers are able to choose company cars from an ever-widening mix of models that are classed as ‘low emission’ with manufacturers continuing to introduce carbon-friendly vehicles to the marketplace seemingly day.
ALD Automotive marketing director David Yates said: “The software enables ALD to identify the base fleet cost for companies and then identify vehicles that meet that criteria. As a result we can deliver substantial funding and operating cost savings to employers and benefit-in-kind tax savings to drivers.
“The economic downturn increased the spotlight on the cost of motoring from both a fleet management and driver perspective. Coupled with the Government using motoring taxes to influence the take-up of low emission company cars, our total cost of ownership approach is significantly influencing vehicle choice.”
Finally, despite more hybrid models becoming available and mainstream manufacturers due to launch zero emission electric models early in 2011, Mr Yates believes that low emission fuel-sipping petrol and diesel company cars will continue to dominate fleet choice lists for the foreseeable future.
He said: “Hybrid and electric vehicles have a niche role to play on some fleets. While there is interest in these vehicles, petrol and diesel vehicles are a known quantity and deliver, in many cases, exactly what fleets and drivers want - low emissions, excellent fuel economy and a desirable total cost of ownership.”