Up and down with emissions

Written by: Callie

Posted on October 4, 2016


With sustainability at the front of every fleet manager’s mind – and, if it is not, then it should be – there is both good and bad news about emissions. The amount of CO2 emitted by the average new car in the UK has dropped by almost one third over the last 15 years. So says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, in its SMTT Sustainability Report 2016. To be precise, 2015’s average new car emitted 121.4 g/km, compared with 181 g/km, a fall of 32.9%.

Here endeth the good news. The most casual of observers will have noticed that the amount of traffic on our roads has boomed since the turn of the century. Either people are foregoing other purchases or the relative cost of car ownership has decreased, but there are certainly more cars per capita than ever before. Meanwhile, the SMTT says that we lead the world in online shopping and all of those digital purchases need to be delivered. So, we also have more vans and HGVs and these are all clocking up more miles – 2.4% more miles, says the SMTT.

The result is that individual vehicles may tend to be greener, but the cumulative effect of greater road use represents bad news. Total emissions are up. It may not be a huge rise, just 1.3% more CO2 emissions overall, but any increase is both significant and unfortunate for a country supposedly trying to move in the opposite direction.

If there is an assured solution, it does not seem to be imminent. There is both public and private continuing investment into ultralow emission vehicles, but even hybrids are a long way from overtaking fossil fuel dominance.

Read more about it in The Green Journey Sustainability Update.