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EXCLUSIVE: Business leads the way in reducing CO2

Date: 05 February 2007   |   Author: John Mahoney

Jon Walden, Lex

Business cars are leading the way in cutting CO2 output, with company cars averaging an output of 155g/km last year, according to the UK's biggest leasing firm, Lex.

With the EU threatening to introduce a mandatory 120g/km for a car manufacturer's model range by 2012, businesses have stepped to the forefront of those actively cutting greenhouse gases.

Currently, carmakers are under fire for failing to meet voluntary targets of 140g/km by 2008, with barely a handful likely to comply. By the end of 2005 the average carmaker's model range remained a long way from the agreed target, at 161g/km - barely 2g/km down from the average for 2004.

However, businesses are doing their bit to reduce levels of harmful emissions.

Out of a 178,000 fleet, Lex's average CO2 output for 2006 was 155g/km, down from 185g/km in the year 2000. A company car today emits almost a tonne less CO2 over three years and 60,000miles than back in 2000.

BusinessCar Award winning Lex - the county's biggest lease firm with more than 250,000 vehicles - attributes the fall to business users choosing less polluting cars to reduce their CO2-based tax liability. Over the past six years, the average CO2 has dropped by six BIK bands, and in that time diesel has gone from 40% to 72% of the company's fleet.

"These figures reinforce that company car drivers are having less of an impact on the environment than normal motorists, something which the Government should be mindful of when next playing around with motoring taxation levels," said Jon Walden, managing director of Lex.

Retail consumer's cars, on the other hand, have a lot to learn from their corporate brethren. A recent SMMT survey pegged average non-business cars at 167g/km, some 12g/km higher than cars used for business.

"It's clear that company motorists are helping reduce their impact on the environment because it reduces their tax liability, but it's now time for retail drivers to take CO2 just as seriously when making their purchasing decision," explained Walden.