Transport sector struggling to move away from diesel, figures reveal

The transport and business sectors are the UK’s largest and third largest contributors of greenhouse gases and are not doing enough to cut emissions.

These are the findings of Bury-based fuel and oil supplier Crown Oil who looked into official figures on the UK’s greenhouse emissions.

They found that industries such as transport and business are struggling to reduce their emissions due to their reliance on fuels like diesel and kerosene.

Sectors that rely on fuel should consider environmentally-friendly alternatives to heating oils to help the UK meet its emissions reduction targets, the distribution company has said.

Matt Greensmith, managing director of Crown Oil, said: ‘Most businesses will use red diesel or kerosene for their heating and power generation requirements, while the road transport sector relies on regular diesel to fuel their fleets.

‘However, many will not know that there are more efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives to diesel and kerosene, and often these alternatives are fully interchangeable.’

Crown Oil’s research looked at figures released in 2018 by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) about the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2017.

It found transport and business to be among the slowest sectors in reducing their carbon footprint – a situation which has remained the same in the latest government figures.

The two sectors emitted a combined total of 460.2 million tonnes of CO2 in 2017, with the business sector registering a 2% decrease in emissions on the previous year and transport none at all.

Progress has been slow in the transport sector due to an increased level of emissions by LDVs, the railway and HGVs since 1999, Crown Oil’s research found.

It also highlighted combustion as a large contributor to emissions in the agricultural sector, which saw its greenhouse emissions increase by 1% in 2017.

Greensmith said that businesses should consider looking into cleaner fuel alternatives such as biofuel, biodiesel and industrial heating oil, as well as using fuel management services to help them optimise their fuel use.

‘We’ve seen in other aspects of life how switching to more energy-efficient alternatives – be that electric cars, cleaner power stations, or even electric trucks, ships and other commercial vehicles – is the way forward, but there’s no room for complacency,’ he added.

The news comes not long after BEIS announced the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions figures for 2018 which found that emissions are at their lowest since the 1890s.

Figures released last week by BEIS revealed the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions from production fell by 3% in 2018 from 2017 – a total decrease of 44% since 1990.

However, the transport sector only reduced its emissions by 3% last year, while the business sector reported a 0% year-on-year reduction.

The government was recently criticised for deciding against closing a tax ‘loophole’ that allows large private businesses to pay over five times less tax on diesel than normal.

Campaigners had argued that closing the tax break would force companies to move towards cleaner alternatives such as liquid nitrogen or biodiesel.

The government said that it will ‘continue to pursue policies to reduce the overall environmental impact of diesel use’ rather than increase taxation on the fuel.