A typical passenger vehicle emits approximately 4.6 metric tonnes of CO2 per year. This assumes that the average gasoline vehicle on the road today has a fuel economy of approximately 22.0 miles per gallon and travels approximately 11,500 miles per year. Every gallon of gasoline burned emits approximately 8,887 grams of CO2. Furthermore, pollutants emitted by these vehicles are harmful to our health and contain greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, which contribute to climate change. Byproducts of gasoline and diesel fuel combustion include nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, benzene, and formaldehyde.
The transport sector was estimated to account for 24% of net greenhouse gas emissions in the United Kingdom in 2020, the highest of any sector. At the end of June 2022, there were 40.7 million licensed vehicles in the United Kingdom; out of which 57.7% are passenger cars, 21.2% motorcycles, 12.3% light goods vehicles, 3.8% heavy goods vehicles, 0.9% buses and coaches, and 4% other vehicles (which include rear diggers, lift trucks, rollers, ambulances, Hackney Carriages, three-wheelers, tricycles, and agricultural vehicles).
Licensed and registered motor vehicle statistics data are updated on an annual basis in May, with a subset of key tables published quarterly in July, September, and December. As of June 2022, the UK has 11,939,619 numbers of diesel cars, 1,916,489 numbers of petrol cars, and 1,997,421 cars of other fuels. The average age of cars on UK roads is 8.4 years, the highest since records began in 2000, with nearly 10 million vehicles from 2008 and before still on the road. According to the most recent 2020 Department for Transport data, the average CO2 emissions per car in the UK are 138.4 grams per km (or 221.4 grams per mile). In 2020, passenger cars emitted 51.8 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e).
UK is gearing up towards the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, with drivers being encouraged to shift to newer and more environmentally friendly electric vehicles (EV). Hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles accounted for over 10 percent of car registrations in the United Kingdom in 2020, and demand for electrified vehicles among new car intenders in the United Kingdom stands at roughly 40 percent. By 2030, it is anticipated that there will be between approximately 8 million and 11 million hybrid or electric cars in the UK if uptake is aligned with the Road to Zero (RTZ) targets. By 2040, the number of hybrid or electric cars could reach 25.5 million. According to a report from Transport & Environment, the UK will produce 4% of the electric cars produced in Europe by 2030. Table 1 shows the number of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) in the United Kingdom by the end of June 2022. Ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) are road-using vehicles that are reported to emit less than 75g of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the tailpipe for every kilometre travelled.
Table 1: The number of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) in the United Kingdom by the end of June 2022
|Body Type||Battery Electric||Plug-in hybrid electric (petrol)||Plug-in hybrid electric (diesel)||Range extended electric||Hybrid electric (petrol)||Hybrid electric (diesel)||Fuel cell electric||Other fuels||Total|
|Buses and coaches||1,622||0||0||0||0||0||118||0||1,740|
|Heavy goods vehicles||752||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||752|
|Light goods vehicles||35,870||1,028||0||1,519||5||0||0||2||38,424|
Overall, passenger cars contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in the United Kingdom, where they account for the majority of vehicles. However, with the UK government’s significant step towards net-zero emissions with the end of new petrol and diesel car sales by 2030, there has been an increase in the purchase of ULEVs and more people are showing interest in acquiring EV or hybrid passenger cars. There is still a significant gap between ULEV use and production that the country must bridge.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard UK Country Manager Prastuti Saikia