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Most operators have no plans to decarbonise their fleets over the next three years and half of those surveyed don’t expect this to change after 2026, according to a new study.

Asset Alliance Group’s state of the sector report, produced in association with Motor Transport and Commercial Motor, found little progress among haulage and logistics firms on transitioning to cleaner fuels over the next three years.

It also found battery electric vehicles are currently being run by just 6% of respondents, 7% are relying on gas vehicles, 3% on hybrids and 7% are using biofuels.

Of the 353 operators who currently have no alternatively fuelled trucks in their fleet, 88% said they had no plans to run any and only half of those thought this might change after 2026.

“It is particularly interesting that the number of fleets using biofuels shows slow growth over the next three years, as biofuels are considered to be a necessary bridging solution to lower the UK fleet’s carbon output and will be essential for legacy fleets after the 2035/2040 deadlines,” the report said.

Reasons cited for the slow uptake included a need for better public refuelling infrastructure and a fuel rebate or scrappage scheme. Half called for lower upfront costs and a third of respondents said they lacked data on residual values and total cost of ownership.

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Elsewhere, the state of the sector report found operators’ biggest concern over the next 12 months was the gloomy economic outlook and rising fuel and energy costs.

However, 25% of respondents believed their company would hold its ground this year, 27% thought they would perform better and 40% predicted growth of between 5% and 10%.

Asset Alliance Group chief executive Willie Paterson said: “In the wake of the pandemic, our sector has come back strongly but is now facing other economic issues.

“High fuel and energy costs and ongoing supply issues mean we must all think carefully about efficiency and cost control, while keeping one eye on what lies ahead.

“But this is no time for doom and gloom,” he added.

“The road transport sector remains resilient and in good health. And in the viewpoints expressed by several senior industry leaders included here, there is plenty of optimism about business growth and the opportunities ahead.”

For more stories tracking the industry journey to decarbonisation see our new Freight Carbon Zero website.