Fuel legislation: Changes to UK emissions standards and testing

Everywhere you turn, diesel and petrol are making way for alternative fuel sources. Most recently Chancellor Phillip Hammond set out new guidelines and tax legislation on new diesel cars, set to be enforced from April 2018.

Business owners must keep up-to-date with the latest regulation affecting fleet or company cars. These include changes to UK emissions standards and tax amendments on business vehicles.

We at Allstar are up to speed on the latest amendments to legislation and can help you understand how the changes may affect your business. 

Company car tax changes

In the Autumn Budget, it was announced that the existing diesel company car supplement would increase from 3% to 4% in April 2018. This change will affect new diesel cars that do not meet the latest UK emissions standards. In addition, the first-year vehicle excise duty will go up by one band, placing an extra £500 (potentially) on first-year car tax.

This will support the Clean Air Fund that was also announced in the Budget. So what does this mean for businesses that run fleet and company cars?

Primarily, it will encourage the use of petrol, hybrid or electric vehicles as a cost-saving measure. You have until April 2018 to think about non-diesel solutions for upgrading your company car resources.

If the short-term cost implications of upgrading to ‘cleaner’ vehicles are unfeasible, you’ll have to bear the brunt of an increased diesel supplement. However, in 2017 fuel duty was frozen for a seventh year in a row, meaning you won’t have to fork out more for the basic price of running a vehicle.

 

Testing UK emissions standards

After the well-publicised Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal, there have been calls to reform accurate emissions testing in a bid to improve air quality and reduce pollution.

The new Euro 6 standards introduced in September 2015 already raised the bar for UK emissions standards, limiting petrol NOx emissions at 0.06g/km, diesel NOx at 0.08g/km and diesel PM at 0.0045g/km. However, efforts are being made to better enforce these among manufacturers.

This will see every new car manufactured from 1st  September, 2017 undergo a newer and faster test in laboratory conditions. Two years later, by the same date, all new cars will have had a second on-road test in real driving conditions, such as rural and city environments. 

 

The future of petrol and diesel cars

Over the next five to ten years, there will be significant changes to legislation surrounding petrol and diesel cars. There are plans to introduce Clean Air Zones for many UK cities. London will receive its Ultra-Low Emission Zones and, of course, there will be a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars in 2040.

Although these changes may not affect your business immediately, it is important to stay abreast of where these clean zones will be. You should also check the fuel consumption and emissions information on any car in your fleet.

Considering all these amendments to fuel legislation, we recommend a system like ours for monitoring what you’re paying at thousands of UK fuel sites. Our fuel cards are perfect for gauging your fuel expenses and claiming tax relief on your running costs.

Speak to our team for more information, or explore our range of fuel cards to keep your fleet under control.