Fleets continue to play a vital role in driving down vehicle emissions, says Arval UK, after new data shows the improvements being made.
Shaun Sadlier, head of consultancy at Arval UK, pointed to new figures released last week by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), which revealed that 96% of leased cars were compliant to clean air zone (CAZ) standards.
He said: “The fact is that a wide range of factors mean company cars continue to be significantly superior emissions-wise compared to privately-owned or privately-leased vehicles.
“Probably the single most important is that they are newer and so take advantage of the latest technology and emissions standards, plus they will generally be better maintained.
“Additionally, the longstanding benefit in kind taxation system tends to ensure that vehicle choices are made that minimise CO2 emissions in the vast majority of cases.”
Sadlier added that fleets are also in a position where they can adopt new emissions-friendly technology more easily.
“For an individual, buying an EV or even a hybrid could be a big financial decision,” he said. “Businesses operating cars are much better positioned to adopt new ideas.”
He argues that the challenge facing fleets going forward is not just to continue to improve emissions performance within their core fleet but to enforce similar standards in their grey fleet operations and through employee initiatives such as affinity schemes.
“In the real world, it is impossible to specify the same emissions protocols in the grey fleet as your company vehicles,” continued Sadlier.
“The vehicles will tend to be older, for a start. However, it is important to place some kinds of limits on the cars that you allow to be used on business.”
However, when it comes to affinity schemes, there is much greater control and businesses should be setting very similar standards as they apply to their mainstream fleet, he suggests.
“It is even arguable that, because benefit-in-kind taxation is not a factor, they can perhaps apply a wider range of emissions measures, such as paying more attention to balancing CO2 and NOx.”
Furthermore, he says that an increasing number of fleets were showing an interest, and willing to take action, in regard to their overall vehicle emissions performance from a corporate social responsibility perspective.
He explained: “Climate change is receiving a lot of attention in the media at the moment and there is definitely a mood shift among an increasing number of businesses where they want to move their performance up a gear in this respect.
“Controlling transport emissions is a key part of this trend and we are in dialogue with several clients about the kind of positive changes they can make.
“Obviously, the arrival of new vehicle technology such as EVs and hybrids mean that there is potential for taking quite radical action when it comes to cutting fleet emissions over the next few years.”