The average CO2 emissions of new cars bought in 2020 was down 12 per cent on the previous year, as government regulations and an increase in electric vehicle purchases drove numbers down.
Automotive data experts JATO Dynamics analysed registrations in 21 countries across Europe and found the volume weighted average CO2 emissions were 106.7g/km last year, down from 121.6g/km in 2019.
The organisation says there are two key factors in this, with tougher government regulation such as enforcement of WLTP fuel economy rules, as well as a shift in consumer attitudes towards electrified vehicles.
Registrations of electric and plug-in hybrid models totalled 1.21 million units last year, making up 10.6 per cent of the market. That’s compared with just 466,000 in 2019, with 3.1 per cent of registrations.
Some of this was down to governments across Europe introducing new purchase incentives to encourage buyers into greener vehicles as part of their post-pandemic economic stimulus packages.
Just this week, the CEO of the UK’s leading industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders criticised the UK government for reducing the plug-in car grant last month.
He warned the UK was ‘pursuing an entirely different path to the rest of Europe’ when it came to electric cars.
Another factor in the average CO2 decline could be that the number of internal combustion engine vehicles sold also reduced by a considerable amount, falling from 14.7 million units in 2019 to 8.6 million last year, with buyers encouraged towards low-emission vehicles.
Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst, said: “In a year when millions of potential buyers were not allowed to leave their homes, it is notable that total average emissions decreased by 15g/km. It signifies a fundamental change to our notion of mobility and a greater appetite for sustainable options.”