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Autogas taxi fleet will improve Bath’s local air quality
Bath MP Ben Howlett took a ride in a new LPG powered taxi cab that could lead the drive to improve the city’s air quality by cleaning up the city’s diesel taxi cabs.
Poor air quality is a serious concern for many towns and cities across the UK, with an estimated 29,000 premature deaths occurring each year because of the problem which has been widely attributed to vehicle emissions. In order to tackle the issue, the Department of Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is currently carrying out a consultation exercise which could result in regions and cities banning the most polluting vehicles from entering ‘Clean Air Zones’.
With diesel powered taxi cabs identified as one of the biggest emitters of two key harmful pollutants, NO2 and particulates, representatives from Autogas Limited briefed Howlett on its newly converted taxi which runs on cleaner LPG.
“Improving local air quality is an urgent priority, but this must be addressed in a sensible manner giving local drivers and businesses a convenient and affordable option which then leads to a significant environmental improvement,” commented Linda Gomersall, general manager Autogas Limited. “Diesel taxis have already been singled out by Government as one of the biggest polluters in cities so today was an important step in showcasing our latest solution for taxi drivers which means they can keep their existing cabs, yet meet the most stringent emissions legislation.”
Vehicles powered by LPG are much less harmful to the environment. Independent testing of the company’s latest taxi solution resulted in an 80% reduction in NOX emissions and a 99% reduction in particulates when compared with a standard diesel powered equivalent. The converted taxi also scored favourably on CO2 showing a 7% reduction compared to the diesel Euro6 equivalent.
Howlett said: “Air quality is a serious issue, both locally and nationally. We should be looking at a mix of options to tackle the problem and I’m encouraged by the potential of LPG fuel as a solution, particularly for local vehicle fleets, taxis and vans where affordable solutions are presently few and far between.”
Local authorities across the UK should seriously consider LPG as a quick and cost effective option for taking older diesel taxis off Bath’s roads. The cost of electric vehicles, estimated at over £40,000, could be too expensive for many cab drivers. Local authorities also face the challenge of funding the necessary charging infrastructure. The cost of converting an existing diesel powered taxi to LPG costs approximately £8,000. Drivers can recoup the cost of conversion in less than two years as the price of LPG is around 20% lower that gasoline or diesel.
Autogas LPG powered taxis are widely used in other cities around the world who are concerned with air quality issues. For example, 90% of taxis in Tokyo run on LPG and they are also widely found in Hong Kong, New York and Istanbul.
Taxi drivers making the switch to LPG can be reassured by the fuel’s established infrastructure. Currently more than 1,400 refueling stations around the UK offer Autogas LPG. This infrastructure can be expanded and introduced at no cost to the tax payer.