Low emission cars take record market share

New cars registered in the UK last year were on average, 18 per cent more efficient than the average car on the road, according to a new report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Releasing its 11th annual ‘New Car CO2’ report, SMMT reveals that a continued downward trend in the CO2 emission levels of new cars, with emissions in 2011 falling by 4.2 per cent compared with the previous year to an average of 138.1g/km CO2 (equivalent to 52.5mpg), down by more than 23 per cent since reporting began in 2000.

The findings of the latest report are good news for the car industry, with now almost half of all new cars sold under the 2015 European legislative target  of 130g/km CO2. What’s more, in 2011, over 65,000 vehicles were exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) with sub-100g/km cars (equivalent to about 70mpg,) almost doubling their market share to 3.4 per cent.

Reductions in average emissions were made across all segments compared to 2010. Executive and Specialist Sports made the biggest reduction over the past year, falling 9.5 per cent and 7.0 per cent while the Executive (-34.9%) and Mini (-29.9%) segments recorded the biggest improvements against the 2000 levels.

The reductions in CO2 emissions can largely be attributed to rising market shares for diesel and alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) taking 50.6 per cent and 1.3 per cent of the 2011 market respectively. Petrol-electric hybrids accounted for 92 per cent of all AFV volumes in 2011 with an average CO2 output of 104g/km, some 25 per cent below the UK average.

Though still only taking a fraction of the overall market, electric vehicles saw their registrations rise by 557 per cent in 2011 to 1,098 units, aided by the introduction of new models and the Plug-In Car Grant.

Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive, said: "Industry can be proud of the progress it has made in reducing CO2 emissions and improving fuel efficiency, 23 per cent since 2000.

“The UK motor industry recognises its responsibilities and the industrial opportunities from the transition to ultra-low carbon vehicles. Future environmental and economic success will be determined by sustained investment in new technology, R&D, infrastructure and consumer incentives. 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 Green Car Website