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Fleets need a balanced view on diesel, petrol and alternative fuels, says Fleet Alliance

Diesel plays an important role for fleets, but this will diminish over time and careful evaluation must be made by fleets, says Fleet Alliance, which is advising fleets to embrace a combination of diesel, petrol and alternative fuel vehicles (AFV).

Fleets need a balanced view on diesel, petrol and alternative fuels, says Fleet Alliance

Fleets need a balanced view on diesel, petrol and alternative fuels, says Fleet Alliance

The company believes petrol will have an increasingly important role to play in the fleet mix, due to improved fuel economy. However, diesel is still the answer for high mileage fleets, Fleet Alliance adds.

Managing Director, Martin Brown, said: “The improving fuel economy of petrol models and their cheaper list price really can help make them as financially viable to run as a diesel, but not in every case. Diesel still has an important role to play, but its importance will diminish. What that timeframe will be is difficult to ascertain. But for now, don’t discount diesel when it’s still the most appropriate choice for your fleet.”

While diesel has been the fuel of choice for fleets over the past decade, its recent bad press including negative press regarding respiratory diseases, has been followed by a £10 per day Toxicity Charge for older diesels entering the central London congestion charge zone starting from October 2017, Brown added.

Underlining the importance of a mixed fleet, Fleet Alliance looked at the cost performance for several cars, producing what the company believes to be interesting results, particularly for cars run over 10,000 miles per year.

For example, Fleet Alliance looked at three Ford Focus models – petrol, diesel and electric. Over three years/30,000 miles, the diesel model offered the lowest whole life costs of the three cars at £12,167, followed by the petrol (£12,576) and electric (£15,949).

Extending the operating cycle to three years/60,000 miles, the results remained the same, but with diesel extending its cost performance lead at £14,468 compared to petrol’s £15,350 and electric’s £17,864.

Changing car to the high-end Volvo XC90 with diesel, petrol and plug-in hybrid produced similar results, with the diesel continuing to prove its value. Operating costs over the same three years/30,000 miles were diesel £25,184, petrol £31,107 and plug-in hybrid £31,167.

However, over three years/60,000 miles, the costs skewed in favour of plug-in hybrid over petrol, while diesel remained the clear winner at £30,384, while plug-in hybrid costs were £36,003 followed lastly by petrol £36,854.

Fleet Alliance say this proves their assertion that fleets must remain non-blinkered and evaluate all cars based on their circumstances.

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.