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UK Beats The EU Targets For Average New Car Emissions

By raccars Published

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The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is celebrating 17 consecutive years of falling CO2 emissions from new cars in the UK. In 2014, new cars in the UK boasted average CO2 emissions of 124.6g/km - 4.2% lower than the target set by the EU.

The SMMT's annual New Car CO2 Report 2015 claims that CO2 emissions from cars in the UK are at an all time low - 2.9% lower than the previous year's record setting figures and nearly a quarter lower than in 2007. The drop in average CO2 emissions has been attributed to cleaner, more efficient petrol and diesel engines but the booming market in alternatively fuelled vehicles has helped. 2014 saw fourfold growth in plug in vehicles, with 14,498 units sold. Last year also saw the UK recording higher sales of plug in vehicles than any other European country. At the end of 2014 there was an increase of 58.1% in the number of AFVs on British roads, compared to the previous year. Currently, there are about 52,000 plug ins, hybrids and range extenders being used in the UK.

Manufacturers have responded strongly to the EU's strict regulations on CO2 emissions, which are supported by the UK government. Last year 68.6% of new cars achieved or passed the EU's target of 130g/km in average CO2 emissions. Only 0.9% of new car sales achieved this in 2000. The buyers of the threshold beating cars benefit from VED (Vehicle Excise Duty) exemption for the first year of ownership.

However, the SMMT claims that this situation raises questions for the new government about the financial challenges that the current VED bands and exemptions are creating. While the government continues to encourage new car buyers to go for the cleanest options, there is a risk that the current tax incentives will leave the Treasury short of revenue.

By 2020, a new EU target of average CO2 emissions of 95g/km will be in force. The SMMT has urged the government to be cautious in reforms of its tax incentivisation programme for new car buyers, to avoid discouraging sales of the cleanest new cars in the future. To meet EU targets, buyers must be encouraged to continue buying the cars with the lowest CO2 emissions, but at the same time, the SMMT is hoping the new government will continue to support low carbon technology development programmes in the UK.

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