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A move to more frugal cars in 2013 has pushed the average CO2 levels in new cars sold in 2013 below the EU’s 2015 manufacturer’s target of 130g/km.
According to the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), last year the average carbon dioxide emission for new cars was just 128.3g/km which is equivalent to around 50mpg for a petrol car and 57mpg for a diesel.
The result of these figures means that the UK has already beaten the mandatory EU-wide 130g/km target set for companies by 2015. In 2009, the UK CO2 average was 149g/km, therefore reaching this much lower figure seemed like an almost impossible goal.
One of the reasons behind the reduction in CO2 to more economical cars has been driven by emissions taxation, for company car drivers in particular, who pay a benefit tax on their fleet car according to how much CO2 it puts out. Last year fleet sales accounted for just over half of all new cars sold, according to the SMMT.
There has also been a surge in the amount of smaller cars being sold, with the Ford Fiesta supermini currently the UK’s biggest seller last year. The Ford Fiesta joined four other supermini cars in the top 10 sales chart for 2013, and illustrated the public’s need for cheaper, more economic cars.
The research is based on quoted CO2 figures instead of what’s actually emitted, which is likely to be a lot more given the discrepancy between the official fuel economy numbers and real-life consumption.
Influential European pressure group Transport and Environment (T&E) said in a report published late last year: “Some companies are excessively relying on using flexibilities in testing procedures to achieve artificially low test results.”
According to T&E’s European figures for 2012 (the latest available) Fiat achieved the lowest CO2 figure from its car sales with an average of 118.4g/km. Toyota was second with 122.1g/km, and Peugeot-Citroen just behind on 122.4g/km. The average across all car companies was 132.4g/km, meaning they are likely to have already surpassed the 2015 target.
It will continue to get much tougher for car-makers after the EU earlier this year agreed a legally binding target of 95g/km of CO2 by 2021.