The fleet sector saw an year-in-year reduction in average emissions levels in the second quarter of 2018, contrasting the wider national trend, the quarterly survey from the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has found.

Average emissions for newly-registered vehicles from BVRLA members were 112g/km during the quarter, down 1g/km year-on-year. By contrast, the national average for all cars on British roads kept climbing, as the fifth consecutive quarterly rise pushed it to 123.6g/km.

The decrease materialised despite a continued fall in diesel’s market share, which dropped below the 50% mark for the first time. Lease registrations for diesel were down 19% year-on-year, which the BVRLA said seemed to mostly benefit petrol. Plug-in hybrids also saw an uptick in registrations, comprising for 10% of all registrations, compared to just under 9% a year earlier.

The business contract hire and finance lease market suffered a fall in business during the quarter, down 6.3% year-on-year to 917,000 units. Personal contract hire business, meanwhile, flourished, rising 12%.

Business confidence amongst members remained unchanged from last year. The total numbers of vehicles leased or financed was expected to rise, but uncertainty around emission regulations and Brexit, as well as a possible weakening in the used car and fleet segments, dampened expectations around margins.

BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “BVRLA members are gearing up to provide lower emission vehicle options at precisely the moment they will be needed most. The implementation of the new Clean Air Zones, the London Ultra-Low Emission Zone and the government’s strategy towards low-emission vehicles will only reinforce the demand from drivers and businesses to pick greener vehicles in the future.

“The sales of greener vehicles could be accelerated further if the Chancellor were to put in place a tax regime in this year’s budget tackling concerns around WLTP and BIK head on so that industry’s ability to provide low emission vehicle options is matched by the ability of motorists and fleet managers to affordably choose them.”