SMMT Reports

New Car CO2 Report 2018

Driving the transition to a low-carbon future

SMMT’s 17th Annual New Car CO2 report shows the UK Automotive industry’s progress in reducing CO2 emissions from new cars.

  • New car average CO2

    New car average CO2 has fallen significantly since 2000. The automotive industry has spent billions of pounds developing advanced engine, fuel and battery technologies to help drive down CO2 emissions. These ongoing improvements mean average CO2 is still a third (-33.1%) lower than in 2000.

    New car CO2 has fallen

    Despite cars being ever more efficient, the average UK new car CO2 has risen 0.8% in 2017, the first rise in two decades.

    The shift away from diesel is in part responsible for this and although there is an ever-increasing range of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) on the market, encouraging greater uptake will be crucial to meet climate change goals and industry targets

    New car CO2 since 2000
  • New car technology

    New car technology has improved efficiency. New cars on sale in 2017 emit -12.6% less carbon dioxide than the equivalent older models. Massive investment by manufacturers into advanced powertrains, lightweight materials and aerodynamics means new cars are becoming ever more efficient.

    New car CO2 lower in 2017

    New car tech

    • Average new car CO2 emissions rose for the first time on record in 2017, up 0.8% to 121.0g/km.
    • A 2017 car has on average CO2 emissions 33.1% lower than in 2000 and 20% lower than the average car in use.
    • Industry is delivering even lower CO2 emitting products, and new models introduced in 2017 had CO2 emissions on average 12.6% lower than the model they replaced.
    • The rise in 2017 reflected on-going market trends, notably consumer shift towards larger vehicles and the 17.1% drop in diesel registrations.
    • Diesels typically emit 15%-20% lower CO2 emitting than petrol cars (with like-for-like performance).
    • Zero emission battery electric vehicles took a 0.5% share of the market, plug-in hybrids a 1.3% share and conventional hybrid electric vehicles a 2.9% share in 2017.
    • Alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) registrations continued to rise in 2017, up 34.8% to give them a 4.7% share of the market. AFVs emitted on average 44% lower CO2 than the market average.
    • The average new light commercial vehicle (LCV, or van) emitted 165.4g/km in 2017, 4.8% below the 2016 level – in a significant pick up in the rate of improvement – and 16.5% down on 2011.

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