Mike Waters' Blog: 7 April 2008
07 April 2008
Mike Waters is head of market analysis at Arval
The King Review is now complete and while fuel duty grabbed the headlines at Budget 2008 the Governments' adoption of the review's recommendations is the most important announcement for fleet...
The King Review - setting the agenda
The King Review is now complete and while fuel duty grabbed the headlines at Budget 2008 the Governments' adoption of the review's recommendations is the most important announcement for fleet, potentially creating a new template for future Government policy on reducing CO2.
Alistair Darling was quick to support professor Julia King's report which examined the vehicle and fuel technologies which could help to decarbonise road transport, particularly cars, over the next 25 years.
It makes recommendations for action in four key areas: reducing vehicle emissions; cleaner fuels; consumer behaviour; and research and development.
To successfully address vehicle emissions it is no good treating issues in isolation. There must be a sustained integrated programme of reduction, covering all areas of motoring from vehicle and fuel technology to driver behaviour. To her credit professor King's recommendations set out the actions necessary to work towards this goal and with government backing it looks as though it will shape the agenda for the next decade and beyond.
We will feel the impact of the review through the vehicles that manufacturers develop and the environmental performance and labelling of these, which will influence the make-up of fleets. It also addresses important issues in the fuels we'll be using, drawing an important balance between carbon reduction, sustainability and wider social impacts.
Above all, the King Review places a new priority on low carbon innovation, seeking to hasten the development and adoption of cleaner technologies through a carrot and stick approach for manufacturers and motorists.
The focus on aggressive, high-end technologies that include electric vehicles is combined with an emphasis on clean fuel, suggesting that all fuels need to be considered based on their life-cycle emissions of CO2 and not just tailpipe emissions.
Professor King says: "Within 10 years we could be driving equivalent cars to those we choose today, but emitting 30% less CO2 per kilometre. The technology is available. The urgent challenge for the short term is to develop a strong and rapidly growing market for low emissions cars."
I am convinced that the King Review will become the catalyst for major changes in the automotive industry and the reference point for developments in the coming years, just as the Stern Review has become the stake in the ground for carbon reduction goals.