Who dares be a fleet Olympian?

The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games takes place later today – the moment when Danny Boyle’s extravaganza, from what I’ve seen a somewhat bucolic interpretation of our green and pleasant land, kicks off.

I’m excited by the spectacle – but slightly irritated by the moaners and groaners.

I was in Surrey earlier this week to see one of our clients, and they were complaining about the road closures for the bike race. That’s not something you hear that from the velo-loving French when the Tour de France comes to town. Quite the opposite in fact – there’s a celebration, and that’s what we should be doing too.

But while those fleet of foot are preparing for the starter pistol, what about those with feet firmly grounded in fleet?

It’s possibly a little too easy to lose focus – it’s been a great summer of sport so far and many are on the finishing straight towards a well-deserved holiday. But beyond the Olympics looms a sobering list of changes to fleet management and company cars.

Beyond the Olympics looms a sobering list of changes to fleet management and company cars.

For those companies that lease their cars, there’s a change to the 100% leasing allowance against corporation tax. From April 2013 – just nine months away – only those cars with CO2 emissions up to 130g/km qualify; above that you will be restricted to 85%.

Things get tighter on benefit in kind company car tax, too – which will see driver tax rise and company National Insurance contributions increase too.

Now, before you lump me with the grumpy Olympic nay-sayers, or as some permanently dour Scotsman, I believe we should all embrace this change.

We should grab the chance to choose low emission vehicles for fleet policy – lower than we have dared to think before. There are plenty good enough to do the job: a 99g/km Mercedes A-Class anyone? Hands-up for a 99g/km Audi A3? Or perhaps a 99g/km BMW 1 Series?

Think of it like beer  – It’s similar to moving from an expensive high alcohol beer to a premium micro brewer’s beer which is high in hops but contains less alcohol, and is less expensive.

It’s still beer; still a great taste; but easier on your pocket.

So talking of beer, let’s raise one to the Olympics – but let’s not forget the fleet race towards lower emissions.

You wouldn’t want to be left on the starting line…