Transport providers have many things to consider when buying a new van. Whether you are experienced in offering man and van services or new to courier jobs, your choice of van is very important. One of the key decisions you will have to make is the type of fuel it will use. Every type of fuel has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of environmental impact and cost. Offering an environmentally friendly service could be your unique selling point, putting you ahead of the competition.
Here’s DeliveryQuoteCompare.com’s guide to fuel options:
Diesel versus petrol
In comparison with petrol-engined vans, those powered by diesel produce significantly lower CO2 emissions and have a lower impact on climate change. However, diesel engines emit greater levels of air pollutants than new petrol-engined vehicles.
If most of your jobs involve long distance or motorway driving, you should consider a diesel engine for fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. On the other hand, if you tend to cover shorter distances and spend more time driving in town, a petrol engine may be a better choice because air quality is a greater consideration.
Vans powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or compressed natural gas (CNG) are generally converted from petrol-fuelled vans. This can be done by the original manufacturer or by an aftermarket converter.
Vehicles powered by LPG tend to fall between petrol and diesel in terms of CO2 performance. CNG offers even lower CO2 emissions than LPG, and is typically comparable with diesel. Only a small number of fuel retailers sell CNG or LPG, so most vans capable of running on these gases tend to be ‘bi-fuel’, meaning they can run on either petrol or the gaseous fuel.
Hybrids combine an internal combustion engine with an electric motor and battery, and there are various ways in which they can operate. For example, the electric motor can be used to provide extra power during acceleration. The battery can then be recharged by the internal combustion engine or from energy absorbed during braking.
Hybrids offer reduced fuel consumption and CO2, with potentially some reduction in the emission levels of local air pollutants.
Biofuels are derived from crops, and they can offer substantial reductions in CO2 emissions compared with petrol and diesel. Most biofuels are sold in blends of up to 5 per cent with petrol (bioethanol) and up to 7 per cent with diesel. These are suitable for use in all vehicles. A few manufacturers allow the use of higher blends of bioethanol in their vehicles, but you will need to check first.
Certain manufacturers offer ‘flexi-fuel’ vehicles that can run on bioethanol blends up to E85 – a blend of 85 per cent bioethanol and 15 per cent petrol – as well as fossil petrol. However, only a very small number of retailers offer this type of fuel.