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UK car buyers are going green

Figures from the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that consumers are starting to prioritise lower CO2 emissions when buying new cars. Demand for diesel cars increased by 7.8% in the first quarter whilst demand for supermini’s which are already the UK’s most popular car grow by 6.6%.

Diesel engines can reduce CO2 emissions by around 10% (or more) compared to petrol engines. However they have higher emissions of NOx and particulate matter which lead to poor local air quality. When buying a diesel make sure that it has a particulate filter, often referred to as DPF (diesel particulate filter) or FAP by French manufacturers. DPF reduce the emissions of particulate matter to near zero and are available across a wide range of manufacturers and models.

Diesel engines are most effective at reducing CO2 from engine sizes above 1.4 litre. When considering city cars or small engined supermini’s, check to see if the CO2 emissions are any lower than the petrol variants. If they are not then choosing the petrol engine will give the best balance of low CO2 and local air quality emissions.

‘Growth in diesel and supermini cars shows that fuel efficiency and greener motoring are now critical concerns for buyers,’ said SMMT chief executive, Christopher Macgowan. ‘The industry has been working hard to improve its environmental profile too. CO2 from tailpipes has reduced dramatically across all bar one of the sales segments since 1997 showing a net 12 per cent reduction of CO2 across the whole market. The recent DfT “Act on CO2” consumer campaign is a welcome further step in a more integrated approach to sustainable motoring.’