Everyone knows, or kind of suspects that the cars we drive are getting cleaner and by that, I don’t mean they’ve been through a car wash. Vehicle pollutant levels continue to reduce and a new report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders spells out just how successful the industry has been in developing and offering vehicles which produce lower emissions.
In 2011, emissions of new cars registered in the UK, fell by 4.2% year on year over 2010 and that’s down by more than 23% in the 11 years that the SMMT have been producing their ‘New Car CO2 Report’. The figures show that the average car sold in 2011 produced CO2 of 138.1g/km CO2 (equivalent to 52.5mpg)
Almost half the new cars registered in 2011 (46.8%) produced emissions lower than the European target of 130g/km by 2015. The number of sub 100g/km cars sold almost doubled and as on average they produce around 70mpg, that’s one heck of a saving in fuel costs, not just pollution.
Reductions on CO2 came from across the board and over 65,000 cars were exempt from road tax because of this and as you might expect, some of the biggest reductions in CO2 came from bigger vehicles with executive cars seeing a reduction of 9.5% in the muck they chuck out and even specialist sports cars chipped in with a 7% reduction in CO2 over 2010.
Diesel vehicles continued to be popular, accounting for 50.6% of the market, whilst alternative fueled vehicles took 1.3% of the market and 92% of these were petrol-electric hybrids with CO2 outputs averaging 104g/km, which is 25% less than the UK average.
Many people believe that electric vehicles are the way forward, but fact is in 2011, only 1098 of them were sold and whilst that’s an increase of 557% over 2010, its not relevant as 2011 was realistically the first year these types of vehicle were really available for sale and there were big grants coming from me and you (via the government) to support their prices, you would think an increase of under 200 units in 2010 (many of which were probably registered by manufacturers) to just over 1098 in 2011 isn’t earth shattering, particularly when to put it into perspective, Ford alone sold 265,894 ‘normal’ cars in the UK in 2011.
Of course, the way our cars are powered will continue to evolve and I guess technology will get both cheaper and more reliable, but presently, a small battery powered hatch, even after the government grant, can end up costing you £25,000, as opposed to probably half that for a normally powered alternative that does upwards of 70mpg and has CO2 of around 100g/km.
The car manufacturers have made massive strides forward in cleaning up what we drive, and you have to admit, they’ve done a pretty good job since pollution was made the issue it is today. The EU has bold targets of 95g/km by 2020 and logically, these should be achieved, however with many countries in Europe experiencing severe financial difficulties, you must question there commitment to achieving idealistic targets at huge cost, particularly when some of them are simply struggling to keep there countries from going bankrupt.
Speaking as the normal bloke in the street, we don’t want to muck up our planet anymore than we already have and I love the fact the car I drive is doing so many more miles for each gallon of gas I put in, so more power to the car makers for what they are doing. However, if for just one minute, you think a green Europe is going to turn the world around, think again!
There are so many under developed countries which need to burn fossil fuel and because of that, will cause pollution in all the ways we used to do whilst we were establishing our industrial wealth and our growth. These countries have aspirations for their people also and do you honestly think we can stop them? Do we have the moral right to try; having got rich ourselves using every trick in the book, only now to tell them it’s not allowed.
So well done to everyone and certainly, the car makers are doing their bit to make our world a nicer place, but getting all excited about the overall impact on the planet, I fear is a touch premature.