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Diesel tax hikes ‘creating CO2 problem’, says PSA Group

Government tax reform penalising diesel vehicles is hindering the uptake of clean engines, encouraging fleets to pick the wrong fuel and potentially slowing CO2 reductions, according to PSA Group fleet and used car director, Martin Gurney.

Martin Gurney

Martin Gurney, fleet and used vehicles director, PSA Group UK

Speaking to Fleet World, Gurney said the demise of diesel had been over-promoted, though “unhelpful” media coverage and rises in VED and company car tax was causing fleets to be more cautious when replacing vehicles.

Neither had recognised the “negligible” difference in NOx emissions between Euro 6.2 diesel engines and their petrol counterparts, he added, or that some petrol engines now emit more NOx than the latest diesels.

“The latest actions taken in the Budget weren’t as bad as they could have been, but were an extremely unhelpful hinderance to the sale of much cleaner diesels and I think the government is creating a CO2 problem,” he said. “We’ve seen some businesses move towards petrol as opposed to diesel when really it isn’t the right thing to do for their business, and they are going to see their fuel costs increase as a result.”

SMMT figures to the end of November showed diesel sales down 16.1% (193,281 units) year-on-year in the first 11 months of 2017, in a market down 5.0% (126,620 units). The society blamed “anti-diesel messages from the government” for some of that decline.

“We’re working hard with customers to help them make the right choice; to explain and overcome some of the misconceptions about the latest diesels, and to ensure that where they should be choosing diesel – which is still very relevant for those higher mileage operations associated with fleet – that they are doing so. I think some people are making the wrong decision at the moment.”

The full interview with Martin Gurney, will appear in the February 2018 issue of Fleet World magazine. To subscribe, click here.

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.