Carmakers have cut the average CO2 emissions of their new cars by the biggest margin ever, a new report shows.
On average, new cars now emit just 158.6g/km of CO2 – 3.8% less than at the end of last year.
The figure is 16.4% lower than 1997’s 189.8g/km base, and means the average model now incurs an annual road tax fee of £145.
New tax rules
Under new tax rules, cars that emit less than 100g/km of CO2 are exempt from vehicle excise duty.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which released the new figures in its ninth annual sustainability report, manufacturers are continuing to reduce the environmental impact of their cars.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said, ‘Despite the current difficulties there should be no doubt about the industry’s willingness and desire to keep delivering products that are cleaner, safer and more fuel-efficient.’
Compared with 2006, the energy needed to produce each vehicle is down 12%, water use is down 9% and waste to landfill is down 25%, the report shows.
It also says there has been a 14% drop in the amount of CO2 produced per vehicle over the last year, and a 45% fall since 1999.
In the same period, almost 10,000 tonnes of waste have been prevented from entering landfill sites.
But the SMMT thinks economic uncertainty, falling new car registrations and car taxation changes pose a ‘significant challenge’ to the motoring industry’s environmental improvements.
Everitt said, ‘My plea to government is that urgent action is required to support the manufacturing sector during the testing times that lay ahead’.