Is the UK Getting Greener? Vehicle Emissions are down 4% Compared to 2007, but Have Plateaued Since 2010

Over the last decade, the UK’s motoring industry has taken an obvious, greener, direction; cars have become more efficient, electric cars have grown in popularity and, more recently, the government are pushing for a more eco-friendly future with its proposed Diesel Scrappage Scheme. In fact, we have researched into the latest greenhouse gas emissions figures and has found that road transport emissions are down by 4% since 2007, according to gov.uk.

Indeed, since its last spike of 71 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents back in 2007, the level of greenhouse gases created by household motorists has steadily declined and plateaued to 67 mt CO2e. Contributing factors to this drop will have included the developments in car-efficiency (average new car CO2 emissions fell by 26.4% from 2007 to 2015 according to the SMMT) and the tax incentives for lower carbon dioxide. It could also illustrate a potential backlash from the recession. Obviously, there will have been an increase in nitrogen oxide emissions during this drop, due to many motorists converting to diesel. However, according to the SMMT, new car registrations also fell by 11% when comparing 2007 with 2008, which will have had some impact on the emissions as fewer cars were being introduced to the road that year. That being said, the recent plateau since 2010 suggests that the change has run its course for now, or at least until the most recent statistics, which reflect 2014.

Despite this plateau, it is hard to predict the level of emissions from UK vehicles in the more recent years and those to come; drivers are more aware than ever of the consequences of both CO2 and NOX, and electric cars are becoming more popular to illustrate this. However, at the moment electric vehicles are still small in number when compared to diesel and petrol. Not to mention, more cars than ever are being registered; SMMT’s figures show a record of 2.69 million registrations in 2016. Whilst it will not be easy, a more eco-friendly future is eventually apparent thanks to proposals such as the government’s Diesel Scrappage Scheme as well as London’s T-Charge. Changes such as these will gradually influence motorists to go eco-friendly, and should have a sharp impact on the emissions in years to come.

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “There has indeed been a major improvement in the UK’s car emissions since 2007; however we want to ensure that this plateau continues to drop. If you cannot afford an electric vehicle, there are still some changes you can make which will allow your car to run more efficiently: remove any unnecessary weight, ensure the tyres are inflated and try not to drive too quickly or sporadically. Above all, make sure your car is operating at 100%. You can always hire a mechanic from ClickMechanic for a quick check-up.”