HC Deb 21 March 1994 vol 240 cc9-10
10. Mr. Lidington

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies his Department has carried out into the effectiveness as a form of transport of vehicles powered by natural gas.

Mr. Key

Two studies are already in hand. I am announcing a third study today, involving trials of natural gas and other popular alternative fuels.

Mr. Lidington

I am grateful for that reply. Is my hon. Friend aware that gas-powered vehicles produce far fewer noxious emissions than vehicles powered by internal combustion engines? Will he talk with his right hon. and hon. Friends at the Treasury to see whether the present excessively high rates of duty on natural gas as a vehicle fuel could be reduced to allow those environmentally friendly vehicles to gain in popularity?

Mr. Key

Rates of fuel duty are a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. However, Customs and Excise is considering a fresh approach by which duty would relate to weight rather than to volume and to unleaded rather than leaded petrol. That would provide a simple and equitable taxation framework as the energy content of compressed natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas are similar when related to weight.

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