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New cars in the UK emit more CO2 than older models

By Charlotte Ricca

Typical CO2 emissions almost double the target set by the EU, according to a survey by Which?

New cars sold in the UK emit more carbon dioxide than older vehicles, according to new research.

Tests carried out by the consumer group Which? revealed the latest petrol, diesel and hybrid cars produce an average of 7 per cent more CO2 than 2017 models in 2017.

Lisa Barber, editor of Which? magazine, said: “It is shocking to see our tests uncover increasing levels of carbon dioxide emissions for the latest cars that are being built and sold to UK consumers.

“Manufacturers must ensure that they are doing everything in their power to create cleaner vehicles that are fitter for our planet and its future.”

Which? looked at 292 models and found that typical CO2 emissions have increased from 151.6g/km to 162.1g/km, which is far higher than the 95g target set by the EU.

Small petrol cars increased by an average 11 per cent, while mid-size petrol SUVs rose by 20 per cent and petrol-hybrid cars saw a rise of 32 per cent.

Which? said its tests also found that CO2 emissions were higher than official readings carried out by EU regulators. This is because they do not take into account prolonged periods on a motorway, or a car full of people using the radio or air conditioning.

The rise in CO2 emissions is believed to be due to the extra weight of modern cars, caused by an increase in size and additional technology.

It’s not all bad news, however. While CO2 is on the rise, the research found that new cars produce a fraction of air pollutants NOx (oxides of nitrogen) and CO (carbon monoxide), which contribute to tens of thousands of premature deaths in the UK.

Manufacturers across Europe are racing to introduce electric models to their range in order to meet the EU target of 95g/km of CO2 and avoid fines. However, they still face the task of convincing consumers to go electric.

According to the European Alternative Fuels Observatory, electric vehicles made up about 1.7 percent of total European registrations in October 2019. Plug-in hybrids fared even worse with just 1 percent of registrations.

FURTHER READING: Sales of electric cars surge in the UK

FURTHER READING: BP aims for carbon net zero by 2050

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