UK Cars Beat EU Emissions Target

Tuesday, 08 April 2014

Average fuel efficiency figures for cars sold in the UK last year were so impressive that emissions have already fallen below the EU's 130g/km target.

The EU target was only expected to be met by 2015, but figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that the average new car produced in the UK in 2013 emits just 128.3g/km of carbon dioxide. The figure represents a 3.6% improvement on 2012's average.

While that's great news for the environment, motorists may wonder where the benefit lies for them. Well, MSN Cars have calculated that these CO2 figures equate to an impressive miles per gallon ratio. In fact, it means new petrol vehicles are now travelling at an average of just over 50 miles per gallon, while diesel cars manage 57.

As well as the increasing efficiency of the cars being produced, the figure has also been driven by changing buying habits. Registration of cars characterised as 'Mini' doubled, and there was strong growth in the 'Supermini' category. There was also a 17.6% increase in the number of alternatively-fuelled vehicles (like hybrids and electric vehicles) arriving on UK roads, showing that these technologies are becoming less niche and more mainstream. What's more, it appears that customers are becoming increasingly confident of finding recharge points.

There has been some criticism of the statistics, though, which are based on emissions quoted by the manufacturer rather than actual performance. The Telegraph cites a report from the European Transport and Environment pressure group, which argues that “Some companies are excessively relying on using flexibilities in testing procedures to achieve artificially low test results”. There is also much work to be done for the industry to meet ambitious EU targets for 2020, which currently stand at 95g/km.

Nonetheless, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented:

“The UK automotive industry should be proud of the progress it has made in improving the environmental impact of its vehicles. Average new car CO2 emissions are almost 30% lower than in 2000, boosted by increasing uptake of the most efficient engine technologies, alternatively-fuelled vehicles and the new Go Ultra Low campaign."


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