The cost of green regulations

Greener regulations for LCV fleets could lead to increased costs for consumers.

That’s the opinion of Arval, which believes companies having to invest to meet tougher conditions on air pollution in cities – such as the London Ultra Low Emissions Zone, expected in 2020 – will pass those costs on to consumers unless they make savings elsewhere.

Eddie Parker, commercial vehicle consultant at Arval UK, said, ’As an example, fleets that operate in the London Ultra Low Emissions Zone have the choice of operating Euro 6 vans that meet its regulations or using older vans and paying a new £12.50 per day charge.

‘Both of these options bring additional expense and will inevitably increase the cost per kilogramme of carrying goods into these areas, especially as fleets will also have to continue to pay the existing congestion charge and even potentially the current Low Emissions Zone charges, depending on the vehicle’s age.

‘Even fleets that make an overall switch to Euro 6 by the time that the ULEV comes into effect will find that these vans are more expensive to run thanks to the weight of the additional emissions technology, and for the majority of vehicles, the need to use AdBlue.

‘The more widespread that ULEV-type initiatives become across the country, the more expensive it will be to carry goods into urban areas using LCVs and it is difficult to foresee a situation where this amount is not passed onto consumers in one form or another – unless savings can be found elsewhere.’

He suggested that fleets could make up those savings through a number of strategies such as telematics or right-sizing vans. For example, one of Arval’s larger LCV clients in the construction sector has migrated from 3.5t GVW vans to 2.7t vans after use profiling.

Eddie said, ‘We work with many van fleets on cost reduction strategies that are very successful. One way of offsetting the cost of cleaner air policies is to ensure that you are covering all the potential bases when it comes to fleet efficiencies.’

He concluded, ‘The aims of these [green] policies are beyond criticism – people living in our cities deserve clean air to breathe.’