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Minister hints at green-car tax breaks

Date: 31 July 2007

"We believe that our proposals for a new approach to road safety and for new safety measures can make Britain's the very safest roads in the world. This is an ambitious, but achievable, vision," Jim Fitzpatrick, ex-road safety minister

The Government has expanded its Act On CO2 website which promotes greener motoring with web tool that lets car buyers find the 'greenest' car in a particular sector, though the long-term emissions focus could shift towards particulates, NOx and other more locally polluting emissions.

In an exclusive interview with BusinessCar, transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick confirmed that the government is looking at emissions beyond CO2, though there's no timescale for introduction.

"CO2 is the starting point, I think it's the one which has the most awareness and research, but we're also looking at things like NOx and particulates," said Fitzpatrick. "We wouldn't want to get people's expectations up too quickly that we'll start publishing emissions, but research has started." Fitzpatrick also told BusinessCar that the debate on ways to push Euro5 and 6 technology forward, such as the rescinding of the 3% tax penalty for engines that meet the new standards ahead of time, is starting. "There are no firm proposals, it is on the radar but nothing yet," he said. The minister did though credit the business car community with the progress it's made towards cleaner cars. "I would be surprised if fleet managers didn't see the website, and if they weren't already ahead of the game."

The new website is aimed at nudging drivers towards the cleanest vehicle in a particular, with variations for gearbox and fuel type. Judged on CO2 emissions, the website provides a list of green cars using categories picked by the car buyer.

The website was launched by Fitzpatrick who said: "Climate change affects everyone and everyone can make a contribution to tackling it. By choosing the car with the most fuel efficient engine in its class, drivers could reduce their engine CO2 emissions by 24% and potentially save a quarter on fuel costs. So the message is simple - the car you choose can help reduce your impact on the environment, and help save money."