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Car buyers prioritise lower emissions when choosing their next car in 2021, survey finds

  • Lowering emissions is the top reason car buyers are switching car in 2021
  • AA Cars says this could be down to the 2030 petrol and diesel car sales ban
  • 54 per cent surge of used car buyers on AA Cars website
  • Other top reasons for changing car include boredom and needing more space

Time 3 weeks ago

Car buyers are putting the priority on lower emissions over any other reason when choosing their next car.

New data from AA Cars has found that this was the biggest reason given for buying a new car, whether new or used, from 17,025 people surveyed.

A third (33 per cent) of new car buyers and almost a quarter (24 per cent) of those buying used say switching to a less-polluting car is their primary reason for changing vehicle in 2021.


AA Cars has said this could be because of the UK government’s ban on selling new petrol or diesel cars from 2030, but it also commented that Britons choosing more sustainable lifestyles could be the reason.

It echoes figures from the SMMT, which reported EV sales were up 48.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, helped by the increased number of used models for sale.

In the survey, 17 per cent said they were planning to buy new and 74 per cent said used, reflecting a surge of 54 per cent of used car buyers seen on the AA Cars website in April compared with February 2020.

It also found that one fifth (20 per cent) were simply changing their car because they were bored with their current one and 10 per cent because they needed a bigger car.

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James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, commented: ‘The environment has become increasingly important to many people in recent years, but it is still surprising to see that the desire to drive a less-polluting vehicle is now the number one reason drivers give for wanting to buy a car.

‘With the government’s ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles now just nine years away, both the demand for, and supply of, EVs is improving fast. More EVs are now on sale than ever before, including on the second-hand market.

‘Many second-hand EVs are nearly-new, driven for just a few years under a car finance agreement, but it is recommended that drivers organise a warranty for the car if it is outside the manufacturer warranty period.

‘Drivers should also arrange an independent inspection before parting with any money to ensure there are no hidden defects which could prove costly down the road.

‘For those who would like to try an EV before committing to buying one, the AA’s Smart Lease allows drivers to lease a new EV for a fixed price which includes servicing and maintenance, car tax and VAT.’

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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