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Low-emission vehicles on the rise

  • The UK is one of the fastest growing markets in Europe
  • Average emissions fell to 122g/km
  • Substantial rise in ultra-low-emission vehicles 

Written by Debbie Wood Published: 15 June 2015 Updated: 15 June 2015

Car registration figures for the first quarter of 2015 have revealed a significant uptake in low-emission cars registered here in the UK.

During the first quarter of 2015, 872,000 vehicles were registered for the first time in the UK, up nine percent on the same quarter of 2014.

While new car registrations across the European Union as a whole rose by six percent in 2014 according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, the UK experienced the fastest rate of growth among the four countries with the most new registrations (nine percent) and was the second largest new car market in Europe in 2014, after Germany.

Average CO2 emissions from new cars the first quarter of the year in the UK was 122g/km, representing a fall of three percent compared to new cars in the first quarter of last year.

Ultra-low-emission vehicles like electric, hybrid or hydrogen cars and vans also saw a rise of 366 percent from the same period in 2014. A total of 9,046 were registered between January and March.

Most of this increase has been attributed to vehicles eligible for plug-in car and van grants which cover either 35 percent off up to a maximum of £5,000 for new cars, or 20 percent off the cost of a van, up to a maximum of £8,000.

Eligible cars for the grant include the Audi A3 e-tron, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen eGolf and BMW i3.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones has welcomed the substantial increase in alternatively fuelled vehicles, he said: “I am delighted to see such a huge rise in the number of people buying ultra low emission vehicles. The Go Ultra Low campaign is making low emission vehicles an increasingly popular choice and the government is investing £500 million over the next five years in making them more accessible to families and businesses across the country.”

“It’s a great example of Britain leading the way in developing sustainable transport options that are affordable for everyone,” he said.