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UK fleets have shown a worrying lack of awareness about clean air zone (CAZ) regulations being implemented across the country, according to Europcar Mobility Group.
The rental company surveyed 300 fleet managers about the issue for its newly-published white paper, 'Clearing the air: Are fleet managers ready for the clean air revolution'.
It found that one in five businesses were not aware of the rules for different zones, and just under 30% had not calculated the potential cost for their fleet to enter a CAZ or the extended London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
This is despite 89% of businesses needing a quarter or more of their fleet to enter a CAZ area more than once a week.
Some businesses are however responding to CAZs, with 64% planning to extend their use of public transport and/or shared mobility solutions in response, while 48% said they planned to decrease the use of grey fleet vehicles to ensure they did not incur additional costs, with these vehicles generally older and more polluting.
Also, 40% said they intended to use long-term or flexible rental as a way of increasing the number of CAZ-compliant vehicles in their fleet.
The research found that for one in five businesses, the main concern around switching to a lower-emissions fleet was cost. Europcar has also pointed out that ongoing new vehicle supply issues, likely to continue for the first half of this year, means ensuring consistent access to compliant vehicles will require forward planning.
The company's UK managing director Ron Santiago said: "Clean air zones are a welcome move in the fight for improved air quality in our towns and cities but the whitepaper findings highlight how important it is that fleet and business travel managers understand the rules and regulations for each of the clean air zones, if they are not to fall foul of potentially heavy fines and daily admission charges for non-compliant vehicles.
"A lack of awareness could impact the bottom line for many companies and a lack of planning will reduce their ability to remain flexible to changes in business demand."