ACFO has renewed its calls for plug-in hybrid vehicle advisory fuel rates to be introduced after reports that many employees do not charge their PHEVs.
TMC earlier this week warned that company car drivers failing to charge their PHEVs could mean the fleet industry loses Government support for adopting the technology.
Its data on 1,500 PHEVs, used in a BBC report, showed they had a real-world fuel economy of 39.3mpg – many models have official combined fuel economy of more than 120mpg – while some drivers do not charge their cars at all.
However, ACFO said that introducing an AFR for PHEVs, which it has long campaigned for, will incentivise staff to use the technology correctly.
John Pryor, chairman of ACFO, said: “TMC’s data came as no surprise to ACFO. Plug-in hybrid vehicles are at their most efficient when driven for as many miles as possible on electric power.
“Therefore, particularly with technology advances likely to increase the electric range of such cars, publishing appropriate advisory electricity rates for plug-in hybrid cars will help to encourage drivers to use the car in the optimal environmentally-friendly way.
“Plug-in hybrid models are a major part of vehicle manufacturers’ future electrification programmes and, as a result, an increasing number of such vehicles will find their way onto company car choice lists due to their benefit-in-kind tax efficiency.
“However, without an incentive linked to how such ultra-low emission vehicles are used on the road, it will not prevent drivers using the combustion engine alone in a plug-in hybrid car.
“The fleet industry continues to be awash with stories of company car drivers choosing plug-in hybrid vehicles in pursuit of lower benefit-in-kind tax bills, but not reaping fuel economy savings.
“As a result, some contract hire and leasing companies have acknowledged they have had plug-in hybrids returned, with fleets incurring early termination charges, due to poorer than anticipated MPG returns. However, the reality is that those cars are not being used in the way they were intended.”
Earlier this year the Government introduced an advisory electric rate (AER) of 4ppm for fully electric vehicles, but ignored calls to introduce an advisory fuel rate for PHEVs.
Instead, its advice is to treat them as either petrol or diesel models for mileage reimbursement purposes, which range from 10ppm to 22ppm depending on fuel type and engine size.
ACFO launched a petition on its website called for AFRs for all cars with electrified powertrains, and this is still live.
Pryor added: “It is almost certain that businesses are currently paying a higher mileage reimbursement figure to company car drivers at the wheel of plug-in hybrids than if official figures were published for those cars.
“I would urge all fleet decision-makers and the fleet industry as a whole to sign ACFO’s petition and put pressure on HMRC to introduce an appropriate mileage reimbursement rate for plug-in hybrid cars.”