Transport & Car Blog

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Emissions fall for 17th consecutive year

  Friday, 29 May 2015

The UK has again beaten CO2 emissions targets, with the average new car in the UK posting emissions of 4.2 per cent lower than the EU-wide target of 130g/km.

The new annual report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has been published, and shows that carbon exhaust emissions in the UK have decreased for the 17th consecutive year and are now as low as they’ve ever been.

During 2014, new cars averaged only 124.6g/KM, improving on the previous year’s average by 2.9 per cent and 2007 levels by almost a quarter (24 per cent).

A great deal of improvement is down to the fleet sector, with the average levels of CO2 emissions falling 7 per cent just within the last year.  The fleet sector has made efforts to move to more efficient diesel and petrol engines, and the alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) market has also continued to grow.

Sales of plug-in vehicles increased fourfold during 2014, and saw the UK move to the front of the market in Europe, with no other country registering more plug-in vehicles during the year.

At the year’s end, 52,000 AFVs (alternative fuel vehicles) had been registered - a 58.1 per cent increase on the previous year.  The resulting impact on CO2 levels was substantial.

More than two-thirds of new cars registered either met or fell below the 130g/KM threshold.  When compared with the 2000 figure of 0.9 per cent, the increase is considerable. 

A strict EU-wide CO2 target of 95g/km by 2020 is still a concern and a second report from the Centre for Economics and Business (CEBR) explored the central challenges arising from the issue.  It recommends a moderate and fair approach to reform in order to avoid undermining future uptake of the latest technology.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The UK automotive sector has made enormous strides in cutting emissions across the board and should be proud of its achievements.

“However, there is a long way to go, and meeting ambitious targets in 2020 will require ongoing support and investment.

“Striking the delicate balance between influencing buying behaviour, encouraging investment and maintaining critical tax income will be a big challenge.

“SMMT is committed to working with the next government to make the changes now that will help the industry meet the even greater cuts in CO2 demanded in the future.”

To view the latest SMMT report, click here.

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