Emissions SMMT News

New report shows new car emissions continue to fall

03 April 2003 #Emissions #SMMT News

A new report from SMMT shows that average CO2 emissions from new cars have fallen for the sixth successive year. CO2 emissions for new cars fell by an average of 1.9 per cent in 2002 to 174.2g/km, down from 177.6g/km in 2001.

With the introduction of CO2 based tax schemes1, emissions data has become increasingly important to car buyers and policy makers alike. The second annual report, UK New Car Registrations by CO2 Performance, offers a unique insight into the UK new car market, how it has performed over recent years, and gives a breakdown by fuel type, segment and tax band. It also offers reasons for the reductions and forecasts for future changes.

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan commented, ‘Recent changes in company car tax and VED have helped focus attention on fuel efficiency. Further increases in vehicle taxation could de-stabilise the new car market and undermine the commercial viability of producers and their ability to meet environmental objectives.’

Significant growth in diesel and supermini registrations have contributed to the drop in CO2 emissions alongside the development of cleaner technology vehicles. UK diesel penetration has increased rapidly over the past two years. However, at 23.5 per cent of the market, the UK level of diesel penetration remains well below the EU average of 41 per cent. Further rises in motoring taxes in the forthcoming budget could seriously undermine the trend toward diesel cars.

Note to editors

  1. Vehicle Excise Duty and Company Car taxation have been based on a vehicle’s CO2 emissions since 1 March 2001 and 1 April 2002 respectively.
  2. Headline data for UK average new car CO2 emissions can be accessed at www.smmt.co.uk.
  3. Full copies of the report, UK New Car Registrations by CO2 Performance, can be ordered via the SMMT web site or by contacting phirani@smmt.co.uk or calling 020 7344 1608.
  4. The report is priced at £50 for SMMT members and £100 for non-members.
  5. SMMT’s CO2 database is compiled with figures supplied by manufacturers from the first registration document which are checked with type approval data from the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA).
  6. The data in the report looks at total new car registrations by CO2 values, not merely ACEA, JAMA or KAMA members. ACEA is the European vehicle manufacturers’ trade association, JAMA the Japanese equivalent and KAMA the Korean equivalent.
  7. ACEA members have agreed to cut new car emissions across Europe to 140g/km by 2008. JAMA and KAMA members have signed similar agreements.
  8. Average new car CO2 emissions in 2002 were 174.2gkm, 1.9 per cent down on the 2001 level of 177.6g/km and 8.2 per cent below the 1997 level of 189.8g/km.


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