CO2 emissions from cars are down 17.8% since 2008, according to data analysis by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The analysis, which looks at records for almost 40 million cars and commercial vehicles currently on the road, also revealed that the number of plug-in electric cars on British roads grew by three-quarters last year and there is now a record 195,410 plug-in vehicles on UK roads.
Overall ownership of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) also increased by almost 30% last year, with more than 620,000 hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric cars now in use.
The SMMT says on average, a new petrol or diesel car model emits -8.3% less CO2 than the model it replaced, which they attribute to the manufacturing industry investing in advanced powertrains, new transmission types, lightweight materials and improved aerodynamics.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘Thanks to massive investment from manufacturers in delivering a wide range of models across all fuel types, to suit all driving needs, environmental gains are now being delivered across the UK.
‘Ever-more advanced in technology makes every new generation of vehicle more efficient than the last, and this is filtering rapidly from the new car market into the broader parc.’
In related news, recent research by What Car? claimed that ‘conflicting and confusing’ information on electric vehicles (EVs) has created a ‘knowledge gap’ that is holding people back from buying an EV.
For their research, the motoring magazine surveyed 9000 motorists over three months and asked them to rate their own understanding of electric vehicles as they researched the technology.
Buyers rated their initial knowledge at an average of 2.7 out of five during the first 10 days, rising to 3.4 after 10 days of research.
However, understanding fell to 3.3 after a month of research, which What Car?believe suggests that some respondents came across confusing or conflicting information. After three months, the average understanding peaked at 3.8, which is the same figure that motorists came up with when asked what their initial knowledge of petrol and diesel cars was.
What Car? says this means that it takes, on average, a consumer three months to obtain the same level of information to close the ‘knowledge gap’ on petrol or diesel vehicles.