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Government extends ULEV support – but industry mustn’t overlook LPG autogas

The government has recently announced an extended £500 million package of measures designed to raise awareness of, and stimulate demand for ultra-low emission vehicles in the UK.

Included in this is £200 million to continue the grant scheme that enables buyers to take advantage of a government subsidy of up to £5,000 if they opt to buy a new electric car. More than £30 million will also be invested in developing a nationwide rapid charging infrastructure on major roads, while £20 million will be spent to fund ultra-low emission taxis.

This is commendable ‘future proofing’ by the government, but it comes only a couple of months after its own figures showed that, between January 2011 and December 2013, only 6,700 people claimed electric car grants – potentially leaving £170 million of the original £400 million pot unspent.

With public demand for electric vehicles turning out to be slower than anticipated, and the infrastructure to support the everyday use of plug-in cars still in its infancy, we’re calling on policymakers and manufacturers to recognise the greater contribution that LPG autogas can make in the greener fuel field, here and now.

Increased support for LPG autogas vehicles makes great sense for several reasons. In environmental terms, LPG autogas produces significantly fewer tailpipe pollutants than petrol or diesel, meaning it can help both government and manufacturers to meet emissions and air quality targets. Practically, the UK has an established network of more than 1,400 LPG autogas filling stations, meaning the fuel is readily available today. And many manufacturers already sell LPG autogas powered models in their European showrooms, so the potential to offer them in the UK as well is clear.

The government has already acted positively in giving a clear 10-year duty commitment to LPG autogas. Now it’s time for the manufacturers to respond by offering car buyers the choice they deserve and adding cleaner LPG autogas models to their UK price lists.

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