Not leading by example: more than HALF of government cars still powered by diesel

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Author: | Updated: 19 Feb 2018 14:51

In a classic case of  ‘do as I say, not as I do’ research has revealed that more than HALF of the government’s ministerial car fleet are still diesel powered.

An investigation by Car Dealer magazine found that 58% of ministerial vehicles are diesels; at odds with the government’s recent anti-diesel rhetoric and the capital’s air quality issues. What’s more, the report comes just weeks before increased VED rates are set to penalise those choosing new diesel cars.

Theresa May with Jaguar (pic source: Car Dealer)

A total of 84 vehicles make up the Government Car Service (GCS) which provides transport for ministers, and 49 are diesel-powered. They include 17 Jaguar XJs, eight Land Rover Discoverys, six Ford Galaxys and two Jaguar F-Paces.

Additionally, 10 of 16 diesel-powered Toyota Avensis are to be renewed this month, but the government hasn’t confirmed what they will be replaced with. Meanwhile, a further 10 petrol-powered Honda CR-V are set to join the fleet, but they haven’t been included in the latest figures.

The ministerial fleet in full (source: Car Dealer)

Read more: Diesel drivers to pay parking premium in central London trial

Current low-emission vehicles in the pool service include six Nissan Leafs, 21 Ford Mondeo petrol hybrids and a single Toyota Mirai.  A government spokesperson said: “The prime minister told Parliament in January 2017 that the Government Car Service is working to remove diesel vehicles from its fleet. These vehicles are being replaced as they become due for renewal with non-diesel alternatives that take into consideration operational requirements.”

James Baggott of Car Dealer magazine said: “When the government has waged a war on diesel car buyers, quite incorrectly so, it’s staggering to learn that 58% of the fleet used by ministers — including the chancellor who has been leading the battle — are still diesel-powered.

More than half of the government's ministerial car fleet is still diesel, report finds.

Motoring journalist Quentin Wilson accused the government of not practicing what it preaches. He commented: “You can’t pontificate on diesel car pollution and then be driven home in one. And why, out of those 84 cars, are only six electric?”

AA president Edmund King added: “In recent months we have had anti-diesel rhetoric, targets for banning the sale of new diesels and diesel tax increases. We have also seen a plethora of local authorities hiking parking charges for diesels.”

Diesel pump

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Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party said the report was ‘damning’ adding: “As if we needed it, this is conclusive proof that the government will talk the talk but not walk the walk on tackling the country’s toxic air”.

In the government’s Autumn Budget, Philip Hammond announced ALL new diesel cars registered from 1 April 2018 will face a first-year tax increase if they do not meet the necessary standards in real-world emission tests.

Out of 84 vehicles, only six are fully electric (Nissan Leafs) and one is hydrogen-powered (Toyota Mirai)

Many in the industry argue that instead of incentivising consumers to swap older cars for newer, cleaner diesels, the first-year hike in road tax will instead put people off changing, leaving the older, heavy polluting diesels on the road – you can read more about that here.

What do you think? Are ministers being hypocritical? Should cabinet members be chauffeured around in Renault Twizys? Let us know in the comments…

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