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Will Boris join Birmingham in driving LPG autogas onto the rank?

London Mayor Boris Johnson recently renewed his call for a scrappage scheme offering drivers financial incentives to get rid of diesel vehicles over 12 months old.

Mayor Boris has proposed a grant scheme that pays out between £1,000 and £2,000 to owners of older, more polluting diesels who swap their car for a model with cleaner tailpipe emissions.

While we support the general idea of reversing the last decade’s shift towards diesel power, we also maintain that more needs to be done to educate and encourage drivers to adopt cleaner alternative fuels, including LPG autogas.

In a recent statement we said that Boris Johnson should have gone further by considering LPG autogas in his plans to clean up London’s air. As a proven and widely available road fuel, LPG autogas is ideally placed to make a difference to local air quality here and now, at no detriment to ongoing support for emerging clean fuel technologies.

There’s already a precedent for this concept. Only last week the government awarded a number of successful UK local authority bids financial backing from its Clean Vehicle Technology Fund. Among those granted funding was Birmingham City Council, which will convert 80 of the city’s taxis to run on cleaner LPG autogas.

We’d like to see more cities following Birmingham’s lead in championing LPG autogas, and taxi fleets are an ideal place to start. With their movements typically consisting of short urban journeys and frequent stops, taxis are perfectly suited to life on cleaner, cheaper LPG autogas – a life that is equally ill-suited to more polluting diesels.

As LPG autogas produces up to 50 times fewer oxides of nitrogen and 120 times less harmful small particulate matter than the diesel that currently fuels almost 97 per cent of UK taxis, encouraging operators to switch to LPG vehicles could make a significant positive difference to inner-city air quality. And that’s before we get to the bonus of a pump price nearly half that of diesel, and no more worries about costly replacements of clogged DPF filters.

Now that Birmingham is the first off the rank with its support for LPG, we’re urging other cities to ‘follow that cab’!

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