One in five fleet managers and owner operators is unaware of the Euro 5 legislative changes that came into effect on 1st October, according to lubricant provider Castrol.
The changes require HGV operators across Europe to improve the carbon efficiency of their vehicles and reduce emissions.
Of the fleet managers and owner operators surveyed 44 per cent thought that the changes would have a direct impact on their business, with 39 per cent of those expecting the changes to have immediate negative cost implications.
Castrol carried out the research in UK, Sweden and Poland and discovered that many are unaware of the changes, when they come into effect and the impact they will have on their business.
Over two thirds of Polish fleet operators felt the changes would have a negative effect on their business, compared to just 39 per cent in Sweden and 31 per cent in the UK.
Marc Lawn, head of marketing services at Castrol Europe and Africa, said: “While general awareness of Euro 5 is quite high across Europe, it is concerning that one in five respondents still doesn’t know about the changes and what they will mean for the business.
“It’s important that commercial operators get to grips with how the legislation will impact their vehicle and lubricant needs.”
Just 35 per cent of UK fleet managers were aware the timings of the change, compared to 80 per cent in Poland and 42 per cent in Sweden.
However, Lawn suggested that awareness in Poland is higher as they are most likely to be affected by the changes in the short-term as their vehicles are normally older than those in the UK and Sweden.
He added: “And given Poland’s proximity to Germany, they are most likely to be affected by increases to the tolls of the German Maut.”
In addition to the potential cost implications of future fleet renewals and higher toll charges for non-Euro 5 compliant vehicles, almost two thirds (63 per cent) of respondents felt that the incoming legislation placed greater pressure on them to buy new vehicles.
On the reverse side, around one in ten respondents felt that Euro 5 would actually give them a competitive edge and a quarter of respondents saw the introduction of Euro 5 as positive.
Tax rebates, untolled entry into restricted zones and reduced motorway tolls were perceived as rationalising the cost burden of buying a new truck.
The environmental impact was also high on the list of positives, with fleet managers explaining how being Euro 5 compliant would benefit their environmental credentials.
There are further legislative changes planned to drive down emissions, such as Euro 6, which will see engines being required to reduce NOx emissions by around 80 per cent from 2013.
Castrol’s research shows that fleet managers and owner operators are not looking that far ahead. It found that UK fleet managers are currently the most set for Euro 6 with 17 per cent saying they are preparing for the future legislative changes, compared to just 7 per cent in Sweden and 3 per cent in Poland.
Lawn said: “We are not surprised that fleet managers and operators have a low awareness of Euro 6 at this stage as they are still coming to grips with what Euro 5 means for their business.
“We anticipate that once Euro 5 comes into effect and fleet managers and operators understand how it affects them they will start looking ahead to future changes.”
Castrol suggests that fleet managers and owner operators who adopt new clean Euro 5 engine technology combined with the use of Low SAPS lubricants, can reduce the level of pollutants emitted from their trucks even further, resulting in significantly less costs than those operators running older engine technology.