The UK woke up this morning to government pollution alerts across the country. The elderly and those with respiratory diseases are advised to stay indoors while pollution levels hit new highs across parts of central England and the south.

This government warning follows last month’s announcement that DEFRA was being fined by the European Union for failing to tackle high levels of pollution in the UK, particularly nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Studies show that a significant contributor to NO2 emissions in the UK is road transport, particularly diesel engine powered vehicles.

Toyota has pioneered a technology to assist in answering to this particular issue. Emissions from Toyota hybrid vehicles – which mate a conventional petrol engine to an electric motor – contain no particulates, very low levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx), including nitrogen dioxide, and emit lower levels of CO2 than equivalent powered diesel engine rivals.

Extolling the many benefits of hybrids, Toyota’s Fleet Services General Manager Neil Broad, said “Diesel-engine vehicles are a major source of harmful pollution – despite using catalytic converters and filters, which are expensive to buy and service. With a petrol full hybrid, particulate emissions are entirely eliminated and NOx levels are on average a tenth of the diesel limit set by the forthcoming Euro 6 legislation.”

Toyota is highlighting hybrid’s ability to run entirely on electric at low speeds and cleaner exhaust emissions with a ‘Stop Smoking for Good’ campaign. An information pack about hybrid vehicles, that apes the aesthetic of kits sent to cigarette smokers who are trying to kick their habit, is being sent to fleet managers across the UK.

Neil Broad said: ”The UK needs to improve its air quality and the government is considering radical solutions to the problem. Our message is that you don’t need to be radical; instead you can quit smoking for good by choosing petrol hybrid over diesel. The right choice is a vehicle that minimises damage to lives, health and the environment. Thankfully, in the case of petrol hybrids, that choice also makes complete economic sense and is available today.”

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