New cars now 18% more efficient than average

  • New cars 18% more efficient than average car on the UK roads 
  • UK new car carbon dioxide emissions average 138.1g/km
  • Executive and Specialist Sports sectors improve most

New cars are almost 20% more efficient than the average vehicle on UK roads, according to a recent study.

The investigation, carried out by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), shows that brand new cars being registered now are 18% more fuel efficient than the average car in Great Britain.

Industry body SMMT has released the figures as the result of its annual New Car CO2 Report that analyses the emissions of all new cars in the UK.

Average CO2 emissions for new cars in the UK are now 138.1g/km, which is roughly equivalent to 52mpg on the combined cycle. This represents a 4.2% improvement over 2010 and a 23% improvement since 2000 when recording began.

In 2011 the biggest drops in CO2 emissions across the various sectors was in the Executive and Specialist Sports segments, falling 9.5% and 7% respectively compared to 2010.

The study also found that cars emitting less than 130g/km of carbon dioxide accounted for nearly half of the 2011 new car sales market. Sub-100g/km cars doubled in volume, now taking up 3.4% of the market compared to 1.7% in the year before. The total number of cars dipping below the 100g/km threshold – and hence qualifying for free VED and no Congestion Charge in London – is now over 65,000.

Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Industry can be proud of the progress it has made in reducing CO2 emissions and improving fuel efficiency, 23% since 2000. The UK motor industry recognises its responsibilities and the industrial opportunities from the transition to ultra-low carbon vehicles.

"Future environmental and economic success will be determined by sustained investment in new technology, R&D, infrastructure and consumer incentives. We are seeing steady improvement in conventional technologies and the emergence of a range of alternative technologies, creating one of the most innovative periods for the global automotive industry.”