Average new car CO2 emissions fell by their biggest ever margin last year with the impact of recession and the Scrappage Incentive Scheme boosting the continued influence of technological advances made by vehicle manufacturers, according to the annual New Car CO2 Report released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
The average new car sold in the UK in 2009 emitted just 149.5g/km of CO2, down 5.4% on the 2008 figure and 21.2% better than the 1997 base level. The rate of reduction was the best on record, three times the average rate achieved since data was first measured in 1997.
Reductions in average emissions were made across all model segments with MPVs
(-28.6%) and 4x4s (-27.4%) making the biggest improvement against their 1997 base levels. Minis and specialist sports cars made the biggest reduction over the past year falling 6.7% and 6.3% respectively on 2008 figures.
2009 saw the 12th successive annual drop in average new car CO2 emissions, but the rate of decline was increased by the recession and subsequent Scrappage Incentive Scheme steering buyers towards more fuel-efficient models. The average car bought under the scheme emitted just 133.3g/km, 26.8% less CO2 than the average scrapped car.
In total, 27.6% of the cars registered in the UK in 2009 emitted less than 130g/km, the target set in the European CO2 regulation for 2015. In addition, showing the influence of the CO2-based road tax system, Band E (131-140g/km) proved the most popular with new car buyers, compared to Band H (166-175g/km) in 1997.
Commenting on the report Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive said; “Vehicle manufacturers have invested heavily in both improving conventional technologies and bringing advanced systems to market that reduce the environmental impact of new vehicles. Whilst scrappage incentives made a positive contribution to fleet renewal in 2009, there is a risk that over the next few years, motorists may be deterred from investing in the latest technology. Developing a long-term and consistent approach to vehicle taxation and environmental incentives will be important in maintaining the current rate of improvement.”
The adoption of the new car CO2 regulation in December 2009 set a phase-in target for vehicle manufacturers to ensure their average fleet emissions do not exceed 130g/km by 2015.