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Price of petrol could rise by 35% if budget penalises diesels, TMC says

Date: 21 November 2017   |   Author: Rachel Boagey

Fleets switching from diesel to petrol could see fuel bills increase by 35%, TMC has warned ahead of the predicted anti-diesel Budget on 22 November.

Based on real-world fuel economy data assembled by TMC from thousands of fleet cars in daily use, petrol models cost 35% more per mile to fuel than diesels because of petrol's lower comparative efficiency. 

The fuel and mileage cost management specialist is echoing other fleet industry experts in urging the Chancellor to think very hard before raising diesel taxes.

Paul Hollick, managing director of TMC, which captures mileage, fuel and telematics information on over 100,000 vehicles, said: 

"Contrary to what the Chancellor may be being told, petrol vehicles are nowhere near closing the mpg gap to diesels in the real world. Clumsily trying to push fleets and drivers away from new diesels would hit businesses, crimp consumer spending and reverse the trend toward lower greenhouse gas emissions. It would do more harm than good."

Sampling data from over 8,000 vehicles, TMC showed that diesels averaged 49.8 mpg in real-world use compared with 36 mpg for petrol cars and 41.6 mpg for petrol hybrids. The cost of fuel for the diesels in the sample averaged 11.2 pence per mile but petrol averaged 15.2 pence per mile - 35% higher. 

For the average diesel driver, switching to a petrol car would add nearly £400 to their fuel bill over 10,000 miles - equating in £1,122 for diesel versus £1,515 for petrol.

Hollick questioned what would be achieved by penalising new diesels, which are fitted with technology that greatly reduces the nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate emissions that are partially blamed for air quality problems in some UK city centres.

"I would like to see the government produce convincing figures to show that today's diesels contribute disproportionately to the problem," he said. "Or how hurting fleets, the biggest market for clean diesels, would have any effect on the number of older, dirtier diesels on the roads."

"If the budget measures get it wrong next week, it won't just be a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. It would be like having the horse come back cleaner, healthier and more useful than before, and turning it away again."