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Mike Waters' Blog: 16 June 2009 - Greener vehicles don't always cost a premium

Date: 16 June 2009

Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.

This week I was at City Hall in London to listen to, among others, Boris Johnson talk about his green vision for London.

The event was the Low CVP annual conference which brought together industry experts to discuss the changing climate for vehicles and fuels and how we can all reduce vehicle emissions going forward.

While the hybrids and efficient labels currently on the market do provide good environmental performance, much of the debate, as you would expect during a recession, was around cost. There is clearly a common concern that while green vehicles are often cheaper to run, they can be significantly more expensive to purchase in the first place, plus some come with a level of risk around how their RV's will hold up in the future.

However, one of the panellists made the very valid point that it is possible to have your cake and eat it through the specification that drivers go for at the point of purchase.

Choosing lower spec models can make a big difference to running costs without the need to compromise on make and model. Choosing base models costs the manufacturers nothing and so there is no cost to pass onto purchasers so as well as reducing the up front purchase price and the running costs, the negative impact on the environment takes a hit too.

As long as its fit for purpose, selecting a lower powered engine for the vehicle is another simple way of making a significant difference to fuel efficiency and the impact of the vehicle on the environment; what's more, it restricts your drivers in the way that they drive keeping their speed down and mpg performance up.

While hybrids and green labelled vehicles such as Bluemotion or Econetic provide a sound environmental choice, they are more expensive to purchase in the first place, so reducing the spec on the vehicles that you choose can be an effective alternative. With climate change a major concern we must all alter our behaviour to reduce our impact on the environment, and this may be a good way of doing that right now without missing out on the car that you or your drivers want.