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RACLogoMitsubishi stays top of ultra-green car league table

The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid remains the most common ultra-green car on the road in the UK. However overall sales growth of the greenest vehicles slowed in the last quarter. There were 12,066 Outlanders licensed at the end of Q2 2015, compared with 9,773 at the end of Q1 2015 – a 23% increase.

By comparison there were 9,310 pure battery-powered Nissan Leafs, a 13% increase on the 8,274 figure three months earlier. Third in the list of licensed vehicles that qualify for the government’s plug-in car and van grants is the BMW i3 (2,484, up 14%).

The figures are revealed in analysis of DVLA data by the RAC Foundation.

Overall, at the end of Q2 2015 there were 35,241 vehicles on the road in the UK that were eligible for the grants, a rise of 19% on the Q1 2015 figure of 29,673. But this is down from the 38% growth during the previous quarter.

Diesel drought risk

Diesel is being sold as twice as fast as petrol and the mismatch is set to accelerate. By 2030 it is forecast that diesel could be selling four times as fast.

This will leave the UK facing a growing gulf between the diesel fuel it needs and what it can produce, meaning a growing reliance on imported stocks.
Demand for diesel has risen 76% over the past 20 years (compared with a 46% decrease for petrol).

Forecasts highlighted in Readdressing the balance between petrol and diesel demand by Nick Vandervell suggest that demand for diesel will keep rising – according to some estimates by as much as 20% by 2030 – while demand for petrol drops. At this stage diesel would outsell petrol by four litres to one.

The report was researched and written before the recent revelations concerning VW and it remains to be seen what impact on the market any resultant regulatory changes might have.

In 2013, 45% of the UK’s diesel needs was already being met by foreign supplies (whereas we remain net exporters of petrol).

Our growing dependence on imports is partly down to the closure of refineries.
In 2009 there were nine major refineries in the UK. Today there are six and several of these have been or are up for sale.

The imbalance is also due to some of the older refineries being configured to produce petrol rather than diesel. Retrofitting them to produce more diesel is hugely expensive and often not commercially viable.

Missing the target?

New casualty reduction targets need to be introduced if the recent increase in people being hurt on the roads is not to be repeated.

In Great Britain in 2014, 1,775 people died on the roads (a 4% increase on the year before). 22,807 more were seriously injured (a 5% annual increase).
While today’s casualty figures are still significantly below those seen when the coalition government came to power, much of the reduction came in 2010, the general election year, and the 2014 rise is the second in the last four years.

The figures come against a backdrop of reduced spending on road safety at local level and a concern that the lack of a national target has led to a lack of focus and loss of impetus particularly in England.

A survey of 34 English local authorities – carried out and reported by PACTS and Road Safety Analysis for the RAC Foundation – found that when it came to road safety:
• 85% thought the changes in resources and capacity since 2010 had had a negative impact
• 76% thought the changes in national leadership and strategy were detrimental
• 60% rated progress in road safety overall as poor

For further information or to read the full RAC Foundation Update click here.

Posted by Sue Robinson on 25/09/2015