Nearly all the vehicles used by Oxfordshire County Council are diesel powered - despite claims that tackling climate change is the local authority’s “first corporate priority”.

In figures made available to this newspaper, more than 92 per cent of the vehicles owned or leased by Oxfordshire County Council run off diesel.

Just one of the 420 vehicles currently in use is petrol powered, 32 are electric and none are hybrid.

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The remaining 387 vehicles, which includes large trucks such as fire engines and lorries, are all diesel powered.

Recent studies have shown diesel to be worse for the environment than petrol.

Despite both fuels converting chemical energy into mechanical power by burning fuel, they do so in different ways.

Today is #WorldEVDay and electric vehicle owners and hirers across Oxfordshire will be able to take advantage of a range of offers.

EV charging point companies are offering deals – including free charging – for drivers across Oxfordshire.

Diesel is thought to be more efficient than petrol, but diesel engines produce higher levels of particulates in the combustion process.

These particulates can affect people’s health by causing irritation in the lungs when they are breathed in.

Oxfordshire County Council has maintained its commitment to tackling the climate emergency and has introduced a series of controversial traffic calming measures in Oxford.

In the county council’s climate action overview for 2022 to 2023, the local authority stated: “Our first corporate priority is to put action to address the climate emergency at the heart of our work and is embedded in our medium-term financial plan.

“Our first aim is to become a Climate Active Council.

“We are achieving this through our decision-making, training our staff, reporting our emissions, and reducing our supply chain emissions through our procurement processes.”

When asked by this newspaper, the local authority said it is working to phase out petrol and diesel cars in its fleet.

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A council spokesman said: “Most of the fleet vehicles operated by county council are leased, therefore in order to minimise the cost on the public purse we will undertake this transition as vehicles come up for lease renewals or reach their end of life.

“Oxfordshire County Council has already begun transitioning to a zero-tailpipe emissions fleet and increasing its charging infrastructure, with 32 EVs (this comprises of 13 cars, 17 vans and two minibuses) and 46 charge points currently in place.

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“Funding has been agreed to replace the majority of the council’s fleet with electric vehicles over the next three years in line with current fleet aging and lease expiry, this will provide the best possible financial value and reduction in emissions.

“Work is underway between teams within the council to expand the council’s EV charging infrastructure in line with the increase in electric vehicles.

“This will involve additional charging equipment within council premises, home chargers where feasible provided by the council for staff that regularly keep fleet vehicles at their homes overnight and increased access to public charging where practical and for resilience in the case of issues with other equipment.”