Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Roddy Graham's blog: 20 April 2012 - We should be proud
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Roddy Graham's blog: 20 April 2012 - We should be proud

Date: 20 April 2012

Roddy Graham is commercial director of Leasedrive Group and Chairman of the ICFM.

Great news from the SMMT that CO2 car emissions have dropped by 23% since 2000 - this is a truly outstanding achievement by vehicle manufacturers and reinforces a position I have held for many years.

I think that that few people appreciate the lengths that automotive research and development departments have gone to in extracting the maximum from the internal combustion engine. And there's more to come.

As a country, we beat ourselves up endlessly but this is one area in which we can truly feel proud. Our ten-year old emissions based vehicle taxation regime is a brilliant example of how things can be done properly for the good of society as a whole.

Nearly half of the new cars registered last year had emissions below the EU legislative target of 135g/km. And it doesn't do any harm either that it places us in pole position to meet the stringent EU target of 95g/km by 2020.

What we as an industry need to do is to ensure that successive governments do not stray off the road and that they remain committed to this taxation regime.

They need to ensure that fleets are also aware of future tax changes to the various emissions' bands so that vehicle manufacturers, fleet providers and drivers can plan ahead and ensure that they are not caught out. The more all parties can work in a concerted way, the better for all concerned.

Then we need the Government to join up the dots and start to pull together a consolidated integrated transport policy. With vehicle manufacturers rolling out alternative fuel cars in increasing numbers from full electric vehicles to hybrids, the Government also needs to be more committed to ensuring the proper provision of a comprehensive charging network.

To date, it has been behind the game and it only recently announced that it will be publishing an up-to-date database of public charging points.

For drivers to commit to great new cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Vauxhall Ampera, they need the reassurance that they don't end up by walking home!

A detailed look at the findings of the SMMT New Car CO2 Report 2012 shows that news cars registered last year were on average 18% more fuel efficient than the average car on the road - again an outstanding statistic and one that should reinforce the argument for addressing grey fleet within organisations.

In the public sector, the average grey fleet car is 6.7 years old, so undoubtedly the average fuel efficiency gain is probably higher still.

Last month, new fleet car registrations were down on the same period a year ago, and the release of these findings should be used by all interested parties to leverage the argument for moving 'at work' drivers out of private vehicles, helping boost the economy and the environment at the same time.

The first quarter of 2012 saw the return of private buyers to the forecourt, boosting the retail sector and the used car market appears to be stronger still.

Interestingly, alternative fuel vehicle sales appear to be creeping forward - they now account for 1.5% of the market in the first quarter. With exciting new model releases due between now and the end of the year including the Renault Zoe expect this figure to be higher by the end of the year.

However, don't hold your breath for amazing percentages - there is a lot of life in the old dog of an internal combustion engine yet. Combined with a disjointed Government approach on how best to support and promote alternative fuel vehicles, manufacturers continue to back the best horse with its amazing efficiency gains.

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