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Annual new car CO2 emissions rose for the first time in twenty years in 2017 - latest data

Sun 07 January 2018 | Back to news list

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that yearly average new car tailpipe CO2 emissions rose for the first time since 1997 last year. New cars averaged 121.04g/km, up 0.8% on 2016.

The latest registration data shows a slump in diesel car sales (down 17% in 2017 vs 2016) alongside a small rise (2.7%) in petrol car sales, causing the market share of diesel cars to drop back to 42% (from 48% in 2016).

Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) - including hybrid, plug-in and pure battery EV - increased almost 35% year-on-year and made up 4.7% of the overall market last year. (Note that 88% of those 120,000 AFVs have a petrol engine, so the overall petrol market share is somewhat understated.) 

Following the release of the figures, Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the SMMT said: "Industry has spent billions of pounds worth of investment in advanced engine, fuel and battery technologies to help drive down CO2 emissions. Diesel cars, due to their greater fuel efficiency, typically emit on average 20% less CO2 than the equivalent performance of a petrol-engined vehicle. It’s disappointing, therefore, to see these advances undermined by the backlash against cleaner, low emission diesels, with the recent drop in sales the prime cause of this increase in CO2 emissions."
LowCVP's Managing Director Andy Eastlake said: "The 2017 rise in new car CO2 emissions was a wake-up call, though not wholly unexpected."
He further commented: "Alternative Fuel Vehicle sales were one of the brightest spots in the data and I anticipate further strong growth this year with the continued focus on air pollution and the introduction of Clean Air Zones. But we will need to significantly re-engage consumers in choosing more fuel efficient vehicles if we are to meet our carbon targets"

See Andy Eastlake's blog in GreenFleet Magazine for further commentary on the latest figures.

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