New figures released by the SMMT in its ‘New Car CO2 report’ showed that emissions in 2011 fell by 4.2 per cent year on year to 138.1g/km CO2 (equivalent to 52.5mpg), down by more than 23 per cent since reporting began in 2000.
The report shows that in 2011, almost half of new cars (46.8 per cent) had emissions below the 2015 European legislative target of 130 g/km CO2.
Additionally, more than 65,000 vehicles were exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) with sub-100g/km cars (equivalent to about 70mpg,) almost doubling their market share to 3.4 per cent.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said; ‘ndustry can be proud of the progress it has made in reducing CO2 emissions and improving fuel efficiency, 23 per cent since 2000.
‘We are seeing steady improvement in conventional technologies and the emergence of a range of alternative technologies, creating one of the most innovative periods for the global automotive industry.’
Achieving record market shares, diesel and alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) continued their rise in popularity, taking 50.6 per cent and 1.3 per cent of the 2011 market respectively.
Petrol-electric hybrids accounted for 92 per cent of all AFV volumes in 2011 with an average CO2 output of 104 g/km, some 25 per cent below the UK average.
Though market development is in its earliest stages, EV registrations rose by 557 per cent in 2011 to 1,098 units, aided by the introduction of new models and the Plug-In Car Grant.