Fleet Managers: Should You Be Reliant on Diesel?

Fleet Managers: Should You Be Reliant on Diesel?

Corporate vehicle fleets in the UK currently rely on diesel fuel to power 86% of their vehicles on average, according to Arval’s 2016 Corporate Vehicle Observatory Barometer. However, the fleet organisation, which is a subsidiary of French bank BNP Paribas, forecasts that this figure will reduce to 81% over the next five years.

Scrutinising the feedback they received from various businesses in finer detail, UK fleets comprising 40 or more vehicles anticipate that their diesel reliance will fall from 88% today to 76% by 2021.  This is compared to fleets of 40 or fewer vehicles, whose managers predict a negligible diesel decrease of only 1%. This correlates with the latest data from car leasing firms like Contracthireacar.com who report that diesel still accounts for 85% of the vehicles leased by their customers.

“With the UK government fiercely encouraging cleaner vehicle adoption through continually tougher adjustments to BIK, VED and other financial mechanisms, it is no surprise that fleet managers are keen to explore alternative fuels”, comments Alan Locke of in Manchester.


What are the Alternatives to Diesel?

“Petrol engines are becoming more and more fuel-efficient.  They are generally cleaner than diesel, cheaper to purchase, fuel and service, and better suited to low mileage use, without the particulate filter worries of diesel. In addition, London Mayor Sadiq Khan is introducing a T-charge of £10 on top of the existing £11.50 Congestion Charge from 2017 to discourage pre-2005 vehicles from entering central London.  He also wants to see the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone implemented a year earlier in 2019”, Alan adds.

“With air pollution and business efficiency savings among the priorities for UK fleet managers to tackle, manufacturers are tirelessly launching greener models”, continues Alan.

They include clever conventional hybrids and plugin hybrids to fully electric cars and vans, and even hydrogen fuel cell vehicles like the Toyota Mirai. Arval’s Barometer identifies that 34% of UK fleets already include at least one conventional hybrid, whilst 17% are considering one or more electric vehicles.

Previously, the government’s Plug-In Car Grant subsidised the purchase of ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEV) by £5,000.  This help reduced to £4,500 in March 2016 and the new tier structure means that only vehicles emitting less than 50g/km receive the full grant. Vehicles with CO2 emissions of 50-to-75g/km with a zero-emissions electric range of at least 10 miles see just £2,500 discounted from their list price, providing it is under £60,000.

This change, along with the relatively expensive price point of hybrids and electric vehicles, explains why it is primarily large companies such as British Gas, Center Parcs, Manchester Metropolitan University and Leeds City Council that have adopted significant numbers of electric vehicles.


“Once cleaner vehicle technology becomes more affordable for smaller businesses and the electric range and recharging time currently afforded to Tesla Model S drivers is reflected across more mainstream models, it is hoped they will follow suit and make the switch away from diesel”

Alan Locke, AYCEN Group


AYCEN Group successfully support Fleet Managers to keep their vehicles on the road.  To discover how they can add value to your business, please call 0161 223 5335 or visit