Diesel still has an important part to play for fleets, says Arval

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Diesel still has an important role to play for many fleets despite calls for a scrappage scheme designed to improve air quality by removing older vehicles, says Arval.

The vehicle leasing and fleet management company believes that such initiatives can be very effective in removing old and inefficient vehicles, but there is a risk that all diesel vehicles become incorrectly perceived as inherently “dirty”. This is despite newer models offering excellent efficiency and worthwhile environmental advantages.

David Nicholas, fleet consultant said: “There are no confirmed details available about a scrappage scheme but it is likely that it would only be aimed at the very oldest, most polluting diesel vehicles on our roads. This makes sense to us and is a move that we would support.

“What concerns us is the possibility that modern, Euro 6 diesels, that have a core role to play in the modern fleet mix and offer strong environmental credentials such as low CO2 emissions, could somehow become perceived as undesirable.

“This would be limiting for fleets and actually make very little sense in operational terms. Certainly, none of the older vehicles that are likely to be included in a scrappage scheme would be found on fleets in anything but tiny numbers.”

Nicholas said there were already signs that the absolute dominance of diesel in the fleet sector was coming to an end.

“We are now entering an era where hybrids, which are being offered by several manufacturers, offer similar or better emissions performance to diesels. It is also often easier to engineer these cars to meet modern emissions standards at an acceptable price.

“Choice lists are gradually changing to reflect these trends. There is no indication that there will be a sudden exodus away from diesel but there are several signals that the direction of travel has changed.”

In Arval’s latest Corporate Vehicle Observatory research, UK fleets predicted that the percentage of diesel cars they operate would reduce from 88% today to 76% within five years. 

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