Budget 2015: The Government has an opportunity to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions
The Head of Strategy and Corporate Affairs for Calor Gas calls on the Chancellor to support LPG in the upcoming Budget as it is 'cleaner and cheaper than diesel and petrol'.
The landmark decision by the Supreme Court in April 2015 to force the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to submit a new National Air Quality Plan to the European Commission by the end of the year will require an urgent assessment of the quick and cost effective measures policy makers can implement to bring down harmful emissions from transport.
The UK Government has an opportunity to make swift and effective reductions in air pollution and carbon emissions, along with cost savings to the public sector, if modest policy interventions to support greater use of LPG Autogas as a vehicle fuel and increased uptake of LPG vehicle conversions. Immediate policy interventions could include:
• Removing the fuel duty escalator on LPG
• Support for vehicle conversions as with the previous Powershift programmes to encourage the development of LPG vehicles direct from manufacturers. Almost 20 marques are available on the continent, but none for the UK.
• The promotion of LPG at national and local level for public sector fleets
LPG can significantly reduce harmful emissions from transport. The European Commission’s GHG intensity calculations contained within the Fuel Quality Directive confirm that, on a well to wheel basis, LPG Autogas emits up to 21% less CO2 than Petrol and up to 23% less CO2 than diesel. LPG emissions are lower particularly on NOx and PM which are considered to be the worst actors with respect to air quality.
Importantly, LPG is a solution that can be deployed quickly and cheaply. Automotive LPG has been in wide use for UK drivers since 2000 - to date around 150,000 drivers benefit from using this cleaner and affordable fuel from 1,400 refuelling sites across the UK. There is potential to increase the shift from petrol and diesel to LPG as the infrastructure is already in place and can be expanded at no cost to the taxpayer if demand can be further incentivised. Furthermore, our renewable LPG, biopropane, which we will start importing to the UK in 2016, can be deployed via existing infrastructure and equipment as well.
LPG is cleaner and cheaper than diesel and petrol, the refuelling infrastructure is already in place and with the right level of support, more drivers and vehicle operators can be encouraged to make the switch. This need not contradict current policy to support electric vehicles, but if progress on air quality is to be made quickly, a transitional and cost-effective pathway to zero-emission vehicles must be adopted. Automotive LPG combined with the potential of biopropane merits serious consideration by policy makers as part of the solution to meeting the European Commission’s air quality requirements.
Paul Blacklock, Head of Strategy and Corporate Affairs, Calor Gas Ltd
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