SUVs and extra traffic cancelling out electric car gains in Britain | The Guardian
Rajeev Syal Fri 26 Feb 2021
Carbon emissions from passenger cars across Britain have fallen by just 1% since 2011, despite a steep rise in the sale of electric and hybrid vehicles, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has said.
The National Audit Office said the popularity of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and an increase in road traffic were among factors that have cancelled out expected reductions from low-emission car sales.
Its report concludes that the government has a long way to go to achieve its target for almost all cars to emit no carbon by 2050.
Ministers have announced plans to restrict the sale of new cars that are powered solely by petrol or diesel by 2030 in an effort to cut emissions from the 67.9m tonnes of CO2 equivalent emitted by cars in 2018 – nearly a fifth of the UK’s total emissions. From 2035, only zero-emission cars will be sold.
In a 2013 strategy paper, the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) forecast that carbon emissions from cars would fall by 10 million tonnes between 2010 and 2020.
Auditors examined data from the Department for Transport and found that average emissions from new cars fell by 13% between 2011 and 2016 but increased by 6% between 2016 and 2019.