How green is your company car


British companies have made good progress in cracking down on corporate gas guzzlers, and now more than a quarter now restrict their executives solely to diesel-engine company cars.

Research by PricewaterhouseCoopers has found that environmental considerations are becoming an increasingly important part of company car policies.

Nearly a quarter of British firms now have a green transport policy and some four out of 10 actively encouraged car sharing, the poll of 188 companies found.

Tougher company car taxation laws introduced from 2002 onwards had led to a sustained shift towards more environmentally diesel-engined cars, which also had lower fuel consumption, it said.

Around half of the companies polled also now encouraged employees to cycle to work, with more than three quarters providing showers and the same proportion secure parking for bicycles.

Policies that encouraged the use of public transport were now used by nearly four out of 10 companies and were most common in the largest companies, said PwC.

With the British government introducing tougher laws and fines to deter drivers from using mobile phones while driving, nine out of 10 companies recognised the need to educate employees about the dangers of this.

Some eight out of 10 also carried out driving licence checks on employees before allowing them to drive for company business.

While nearly two thirds of chairmen still had a choice of any car, only a third of sales representatives still did so.

And companies were also placing restrictions on where their cars are manufactured, with Japanese cars manufactured in the UK accepted by 81 per cent of companies and 59 per cent accepting cars from other far eastern manufacturers.

The typical salary at which a car was provided as a standard benefit had continued to rise, said PwC, and was now £35,000, up from £33,500 in 2006.

The percentage of companies that provided a choice of company car or cash allowance in lieu of a car, or provided a cash allowance only, had also increased steadily over the past decade, and now stood at nearly 90 per cent, compared with 62 per cent in 1997.

There had been a decrease in the number of companies offering the perk of providing all fuel for private use, said PwC.

And in seven out of 10 companies some drivers had elected not to receive fuel for private motoring, it added.

Gary Hull, director of employment solutions at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, said: "Company car policies in the UK are continuing to evolve, with many employers now taking environmental pressures and road safety into account even more so than before.

"This will have to be recognised by providers as the need to ensure that employees have access to, and are encouraged to take up, green transport options increases," he added.