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Shaun Sadlier's blog: What the 2040 petrol/diesel ban mean for fleets?

Date: 01 September 2017

It's now a few weeks since the government announced that it is planning to legislate to halt sale of all petrol and diesel engine cars by 2040.

As you might expect, reporting at the time saw some pretty spectacular and misinformed headlines running in the national press about the 'death' of these fuels - but what does this news and the other clean air measures announced at the same time mean for fleets?

The first thing to say is perhaps a little obvious - 2040 is a long time away. On a standard three or four year replacement cycle, we are talking about a change that is half a dozen cars or more into the future.

The second is that the news does not mean the death of the combustion engine. The change appears to only apply to pure petrol and diesel models, not hybrids. It is not a shift towards a completely electric future.

The final point is that it appears there will be no immediate move on a national basis to control use of diesel and petrol cars in cities. The ideas that the government has outlined are very much carrot rather than stick. For example, emissions zone charges are seen as a last resort. Instead, there will be a range of measures designed to encourage motorists to leave their cars at home.

What impact should this have on fleet policies? For the immediate future, it is probably business as usual. The fact is that fleets have already started a long term move away from the domination of diesel and that more hybrids and EVs are being added to the mix. This is a process that is likely to take many years, possibly decades.

However, fleets recognise that modern petrol and diesel vehicles still have a key role to play and remain a logical choice when considering cost and air quality when maintaining flexible business transport, whatever is being reported in the media.

It seems that we are about to enter a phase where wider notions of what is and should be happening on fleets is at variance with reality. Against this backdrop, all fleets and their consultants can do is continue to make decisions based on facts, rather than perception.



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