UK new car average CO2 now under 140g/km

Published: 16 March 2011

UK motor industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) claims 56% of new cars sold in the UK during 2010 boasted carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions figures below 140g/km. New car emissions of CO2 continued to fall at an increased rate year-on-year, dropping 3.5% over 2009’s figures and representing a cumulative drop in new car CO2 emissions of 20.3% since 2000. 

The data comes from the release of the SMMT’s annual New Car Carbon Dioxide (CO2) report for 2011, out today.

UK vehicle fleet CO2 continues to fall

The presence of lower-polluting new vehicles in the overall UK vehicle parc (the total fleet of new and existing vehicles on the roads) has driven parcwide CO2 levels down 7.8% since 2000, and 2.7% since 2009. 

This is partly thanks to new vehicles, and also due to reduction of higher-polluting vehicles via legislation and scrappage incentive schemes. The overall reduction also comes in spite of an increased number of vehicles on the road, and greater average distances travelled compared to 2000.

Diesel’s rise continues

One notable trend has been market penetration of diesel-powered cars. In 2000 petrol powered cars held 85.9% of the market, with 14.1% diesels. By 2009 diesels had grabbed 41.7%, and rose to 46.1% in 2010. Diesels have become the powerplant of choice in the dual purpose (SUV), executive, MPV, upper medium and luxury segments - all classes where diesels now represent over 60% of annual sales. 

EVs and Hybrids still a small part of the market

Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) continue to gain share, but remain a small part of the overall market. In total 22,865 EVs, hybrids, and dual-fuel vehicles were sold in 2010, representing 1.1% of the UK new car market in 2010. 

The vast majority - 96.9% - of AFVs were petrol-electric hybrids. Unsurprisingly, 71.4% of the AFV market went to Toyota and Lexus, who offer the largest range of hybrids in the UK. 

The full 40-page report will be available on the SMMT website: http://www.smmt.co.uk/

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