A quarter (26%) of UK car buyers are considering low CO2 emissions as a top priority when buying a new car, according to new research from AA Cars, the AA’s used car website.
The AA-Populus poll, which surveyed over 17,000 drivers, found that apart from comfort and safety, low CO2 emissions was the biggest factor for UK car buyers when looking for a new car.
Also, there has been a massive jump in the number of drivers who see emissions that impact on local air quality as a key consideration – such as NOx and particulates – up from just 1% of drivers ten months ago, to 15% of drivers today.
These figures come at a time when the latest SMMT data reveals that the sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) have increased by over a third (34%) in the last year despite overall sales of new cars declining over the same period.
Simon Benson, director of motoring services at AA Cars, says: “Over the course of the last year, there’s been a notable shift in drivers’ priorities when it comes to buying new cars – one of the most striking trends amongst consumers is to more consciously consider the ‘green’ aspects of their next vehicle when heading down to the forecourt. This is a definite move in the right direction as drivers are now carefully considering CO2 emissions when buying a new car. On top of this, it is great to see an increasing awareness of pollution and air quality issues.”
Green Car Guide Editor Paul Clarke comments “These figures are interesting because they suggest that drivers want low CO2 emissions, which diesel cars deliver, but also low NOx and particulate emissions – when petrol cars would be a better choice. So this reinforces our belief that motorists are confused by emissions and by government policy, as there was an announcement in the most recent Budget about a hike in vehicle excise duty (VED) for the latest diesel vehicles from April 2018 – and the latest diesel cars deliver lower CO2 emissions than petrol engines, and they also deliver much lower NOx and particulate emissions than previous generation diesel engines. So the government is discouraging motorists from buying the cleanest and lowest CO2 cars.”
Of course electric cars deliver zero CO2, NOx and particulate tailpipe emissions, but electric cars still make up a relatively small number of sales – although EV sales are increasingly rapidly.