Compelling incentives ‘key’ to decarbonisation of UK roads

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Average car CO2 dropped -2.1% while company car emissions plummeted by -11.5%, due to compelling fiscal incentives encouraging fleet and manufacturer investment in EVs, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

SMMT suggests providing private consumers with similar incentives would help accelerate a switch to electric, dramatically decarbonising UK road transport.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “After two challenging years of constrained supply, more people and businesses across the UK are now getting back behind the wheel – and increasingly, opting for greener options.

“However, given the ageing fleet, we now need to encourage consumers and businesses who have deferred purchases of new cars, vans, trucks and buses to upgrade.

“A stronger and stable economy, coupled with reduced living costs, would boost consumer and business confidence, while compelling fiscal incentives would ensure that these purchases are emissions free.

“Not only would this accelerate the transition – fundamental to the UK’s net zero ambitions – but it would also stimulate the economy and enhance the wider environment in which we all live.”

The number of vehicles on UK roads reached 41.4 million in 2023, with car ownership up 1.6% to 35,694,845 units following the registration of nearly half a million new battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Compared with 2022, the number of BEVs in use increased by 47.3% and plug-in vehicles drove the biggest growth in car ownership since 2016, says SMMT.

EVs account for 2.7% of all cars in use, up from 1.9% in 2022. Although 2023 was the best year for public chargepoint rollout, the rollout is considered to be lagging.

There is still only one standard public charger available for every 35 plug-in cars on the road.


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