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Fleets still want diesel when renting, says Meridian

Mercedes-Benz recall to reduce NOx emissions.

Widespread uncertainty over the future of diesel on fleets is failing to have any impact on the rental market, reports Meridian Vehicle Solutions.

The medium term rental specialist says that fleets still automatically ask for diesel vehicles when they make a booking and requests for petrol or other fuels are almost unknown.

Phil Jerome, managing director, said: “It is, of course, possible to see storm clouds gathering over the future of diesel, ranging from this month’s 20% drop in new diesel car sales through to all of the government’s clean air quality moves.

“Fleets are clearly starting to be affected by these factors but, we can report, they have yet to have any effect at all on the medium rental sector from our point of view. When it comes to renting a car, customers are sticking with what they know, and that’s diesel.”

Meridian’s experience mirrors that of Europcar where diesel remains the fuel of choice for almost two thirds (63%) of its car hire customers.

Jerome believes any change in demand for diesel would be likely to have an effect on rental rates quickly, because of the faster cycle nature of most daily rental fleets.

“The drop in demand for new diesel cars is noteworthy in this respect,” he explained. “If it is indicative of an overall fall in customer interest and there is a corresponding reduction in diesel residual values, then rental rates for diesels would have to inevitably rise within months.

“This increase in itself may increase interest in other fuels such as petrol because their rental rates would become comparatively more attractive.

“These are certainly interesting times when it comes to fuel choices and it is clear that the decades-long dominance of diesel in fleet is probably coming to end. However, questions remain over how long this process will take and its extent.”

 



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