New cars 5% less polluting than last year and 18% more fuel efficient than the average car

By Adrian Bishop - 18 Apr 2012 14:11:52 GMT
New cars five percent cleaner than last year

Vauxhall Ampera image via Shutterstock

New cars in the UK are almost 5% less polluting than last year, industry figures show. Carbon dioxide levels from new cars dropped by 4.2% on average last year and have reduced by almost a quarter since the first report in 2000, says the New Car CO2 Report.

New cars now achieve 18% better fuel efficiency than the average car in regular use, according to the data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Paul Everitt, its Chief Executive, says, "We are seeing steady improvement in conventional technologies and the emergence of a range of alternative technologies, creating one of the most innovative periods for the global automotive industry."

The best performers were new executive cars and sports cars that saw average CO2 emissions fall by 10% and 7%. In fact, in all groups the figures saw improvements on last year.

Drivers are opting for cleaner cars, with almost half of vehicles (46.8%) now emitting under 130g/km, which is the European Union target for 2015. Four years ago, they made up just 10% of the market.

In the UK's lowest Vehicle Excise Duty band A cars, that emit under 100g/km and pay no car tax, nearly doubled their share of the market in 2011 and now account for 3.4% of new sales.

Diesel cars achieved record figures of 50.65 and vehicles powered by alternative fuels hit a high of 1.3%, with the vast majority being petrol-electric hybrids.

Six electric cars, the Citroen C-Zero, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Peugeot ion, smart fortwo, Nissan LEAF and Tesla Roadster, all topped the low emissions list with 0%. The Vauxhall Ampera was the best-performing petrol/electric hybrid.

Registrations of electric vehicles increased 557% to almost 1,100 and were boosted by new models, plus the Plug-In Car grant.

To keep developing low-carbon emission cars, it is vital to maintain sustained investment, strong industrial policy, continued research and development and special incentives for buyers, says the 11th annual report.

The automobile industry is already investing in new technology to meet the European Union target of achieving 95g/kg by 2020. The UK government can help the country's automobile sector to be at the forefront of very low-carbon vehicles, which will boost the economy and jobs total.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders New Car CO2 Report 2012 is available to read online.

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Topics: Electric Cars / Eco-Friendly