New car CO2 emissions down

  • Buyers set to pay less road tax
  • MPVs and 4x4s show biggest CO2 cuts since 1997
  • Recession and scrappage key to emissions decline

New car buyers will pay less in road tax in the years to come say industry chiefs after latest figures on vehicle carbon dioxide emissions were revealed this week.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that 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 1997.

Industry experts say improvements in technology will lead to greater reductions in years to come.

Matthew Croucher, from the SMMT, said: 'With the recession it has become increasingly clear that the priority for consumers is to get from A to B as cheaply as they can. We expect more reductions in fuel consumption and emissions to make that possible.'

Average CO2 emissions were down in all vehicle segments with MPV and 4x4 categories showing the greatest reductions. Since 1997 MPVs have shown a 28.7% decrease and 4x4s, a 27.4% decrease.

Minis and specialist sports cars experienced biggest emissions reductions over the past year, falling by 6.7% and 6.3% respectively on 2008 figures.

The recession and the government's scrappage scheme increased the rate of decline as buyers moved 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.

With the forthcoming 'showroom tax' encouraging more drivers to downsize, the government is hoping it can reduce overall CO2 emissions. Although average new car emissions are 21.2% better than they were in 1997, total CO2 emissions are only down by about 4%. This is largely because there are more cars on the road and the total distance travelled is much greater.