Scottish firms could save a total of £270 million a year by taking advantage of a new tax break for greener cars, claims a report out today.
Switching to low-polluting cars could significantly cut the bills of companies because of lower government taxes on vehicles emitting 120 grams or less of carbon dioxide per kilometre. The new taxes are due to come into force today.
Amongst the models which fall within the pollution limit are the Audi A3, the BMW 1 Series, the Citroën C1-4, the Mini Cooper, the Renault Clio, the Skoda Fabia, the Vauxhall Corsair, the Volkswagen Polo and Golf and the Toyota Prius and Yaris.
The report has been drawn up by the Energy Saving Trust, an independent organisation funded by the Scottish government to help cut the pollution that is changing the climate. It is calling on companies to green their car fleets.
“I predict that 2008 will see a tipping point where offering – and choosing – low-emitting cars is the only sensible business option,” said Mike Thornton, director of the Energy Saving Trust in Scotland.
“Implementing a green fleet policy could save an organisation with 20 cars up to £18,000 every year. Running vehicles costs a lot of money and with fuel prices over £1 a litre it's not going to get cheaper any time soon.”
Thornton pointed out that companies which ran high-polluting cars could also find their businesses suffering. “They won't get far when tendering for big contracts unless they can prove their environmental credentials,” he said.
The trust’s UK report, ‘Behind the Wheel II’, also discovered that only one in every ten companies in Scotland has a written travel policy, half the UK average. And only four out of every ten Scottish firms considered the impact of company cars as part of their policy on corporate social responsibility.
Similarly only 12 per cent of Scottish organisations offered a cash alternative to a company car, compared to the UK average of 32 per cent. As many as 28 per cent of companies thought it would cost money to cut carbon emissions.
Converting to lower emission vehicles was “simply good business practice”, argued Colin Howden, director of the transport campaign group, Transform Scotland. “The fact that it's also the correct thing to do in terms of reducing climate change emissions is a welcome bonus.”
He added: “We wait to see which Scottish companies - or indeed even public sector bodies - are prepared to put their hands up and say that they will only use cars which meet the 120g/km emissions standard.”
Download a list of all the car models that emit less than 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre and qualify for tax breaks here (272 Kb pdf).