Fleets frustrated by ‘anti-diesel rhetoric’

Written by Ellie

Diesels cars don’t deserve their reputation for harmful emissions, according to businesses responding to new research from the AA and BT Fleet.

Many fleet managers have become increasingly frustrated with the ‘anti-diesel rhetoric’ from the media and government, with fleet bosses seeing the latest and cleanest diesel vehicles as an effective way of improving air quality in UK cities.

Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of fleet managers surveyed in the Operational Fleet Insight Report 2018 believe diesel vehicles produce fewer harmful emissions than ever before.

For more than 500 fleet bosses and drivers, diesel remains the most popular commercial fuel, due to a lack of cost-effective alternatively fuelled vehicles.

While a third of fleet decision makers anticipate they’ll be operating at least some electric vehicles (EVs) within the next five years, the majority doubt the suitability of battery-powered models for long-haul journeys or transporting heavy goods, due to ongoing limitations regarding mile range and battery capacity.

AA president Edmund King described fleets as “the backbone of British industry” and said his organisation is committed to accurately guiding businesses over EV technology.

The AA boss acknowledged how businesses are engaged in trialling and learning more about alternatively fuelled vehicles, but noted a number of factors discouraging take-up as well as managers struggling to plan for a potentially fragmented clean air policy.

He called on government, local councils and manufacturers to improve support for fleet managers, particularly SMEs.

Mr King continued: “New technologies like EVs are expensive and, unless these costs are mitigated upfront, only the largest fleets will be able to benefit from low-emission vehicles.

“Until fleet managers are reassured of this, cleaner diesel will continue to be regarded as the best form of compromise.”

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, added: “Despite attacks from the press, there’s no escaping the fact that diesel is still the only option for many businesses.”

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Posted on 18th October 2018

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