“That’s the way to do it.”

18th May 2020


Governments, of all colours, get loads of grief when things go wrong (the Punch and Judy of politics). Rightly so as it is our money they are spending. So when they do something right, we should acknowledge it. Recent evidence we have on low carbon transport, gas HGVs in particular, suggests they have made the right call.

Back in 2018, the Gas Vehicles Network and its members lobbied the Treasury to maintain the fuel duty differential between gas and diesel, helping fleet managers make the switch from dirty diesel HGVs to cleaner, gas-powered vehicles. This differential made the higher initial cost outlay worthwhile, with a financial payback of under 3 years.

Now some sceptics thought this was a waste of taxpayers’ money as the carbon saving from natural gas compared to diesel was not sufficient to be environmentally worthwhile. Savings of around 10-15 per cent could be expected when NetZero was the aim.

But what these sceptics didn’t account for, was what the Gas Vehicle Network had forecast, that biomethane not natural gas would become the fuel of choice for vehicle fleets. Using biomethane gives a carbon saving of 85 per cent, something that cannot be ignored.

So the sceptics then said there wasn’t the availability of sufficient biomethane, so only natural gas would be used. Again industry proved them wrong. In 2018, 56 per cent of gas used for transport was biomethane, as of the end of 2019, that figure had grown to 80 per cent.

But there’s more, not only has the biomethane share grown, the overall volume of gas consumed has grown too – up by over 5 million kgs or 55 per cent. So a growing gas demand, fuelled by a growing biomethane supply. That is exactly what we told the Treasury would happen – they had faith, not only maintained but extended the fuel duty differential and now we have the proof the policy works. As Mr Punch would say, “That’s the way to do it”.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO