Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Image courtesy of Shell.


Electric Cars Help Cut UK Transportation Emissions By 11.2%

Sales of electric cars are rising in the UK, which has led to a drop in carbon emissions from the transportation sector.

Sales of electric cars, including plug-in hybrids, surged in the UK last year, accounting for 12% of the new car market. That’s good news, even if it is far behind the EV sales records being set by Norway. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders claims average new car emissions fell 11.2% to 119.7 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer driven, according to a report by The Guardian. Emissions from cars have been rising in recent years due to an increase in gas guzzling behemoths, aka SUVs.

Mike Hawes, the head of SMMT, says, “Once again it is electrified vehicles that are driving the growth, despite the ongoing headwinds of chip shortages, rising inflation and the cost-of-living squeeze. 2022 is off to a reasonable start, however, and with around 50 new electrified models due for release this year, customers will have an ever greater choice, which can only be good for our shared environmental ambitions.”

There is still a long way to go as the EV revolution takes hold in the UK. In May, SMMT data showed that battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids made up only 1.3% of the 40.35 million cars on the road in the country. In 2019, road transport accounted for 25% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to government data.

Ben Nelmes, the head of policy and research at New AutoMotive, tells The Guardian, “Electric car sales have doubled in the last year, but there is still a mountain to climb to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions from cars. The 90,000 internal combustion engines that rolled off forecourts this month will continue to pollute and hit motorists in their pockets for another 14 years, on average.”

SMMT says sales of electric cars are still limited by the perceived lack of charge points. Government data showed there were 28,400 public charge points available across the UK on 1 January, but SMMT maintains the UK may need 4 or 5 times that amount before people lose their fear of being stuck out on the road somewhere with a depleted battery with no place nearby to plug in.

Pay As You Go Plan For Electric Cars

Even though cars with plugs account for only a tiny percentage of all the cars driving around the British Isles, the trend is clear. Electric cars are coming, which means the amount of gasoline and diesel fuel sold in the country will decline. That means the amount of money the government collects from the sales of those fuels will decrease. The government currently collects about £28 billion a year from those taxes.

That has MPs on the transport select committee worried. They think the move to electric cars means the government should urgently work on plans for road pricing which would charge all drivers a set fee based on the number of miles they drive. There is “no viable alternative” to road pricing to fill the gap in the budget, the MPs wrote in their report.

On the face of it, that plan is scrupulously fair — one price fits all. But you can see the fine hand of the fossil fuel industry behind the idea. “Be afraid. Be very afraid! Loss of revenue because of electric cars means our roads will deteriorate, our bridges and tunnels begin to crumble. Pretty soon we will be back to relying on cart paths the way the Romans did centuries ago!” Expect rates to be set higher for EVs because everyone knows they weigh twice as much as conventional cars, causing rapid wear to road surfaces as they drive.

The Takeaway

Figures often tell only part of the story. The automobile industry has been roiled by computer chip shortages and Covid restrictions, which means any numbers from the past two years need to be put into context. Still, more people are buying electric cars, for whatever reason, and that means more people are finding out about them, which reduces the general level of fear among prospective EV purchasers. The dam hasn’t quite broken yet, but you can feel the changeover to electric transportation gaining momentum.

Our grandkids marvel that we once had to wait for our radios and TVs to “warm up,” and someday their grandkids will marvel that they once owned a car with an infernal combustion engine. The EV revolution is about to get real.

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


You May Also Like

Clean Transport

This is an interesting one. Electric vehicles catch fire less frequently than gas-powered vehicles. However, if they do catch fire, their battery fires are...

Green Economy

Conserving, sustainably using, and restoring biodiversity through investment is vital to achieving many objectives, including human health, climate-change mitigation and adaptation, disaster risk reduction,...


The UK car market saw plugin electric vehicles take 21.9% share of sales in April 2023, up from 16.2% year on year. Full battery...

Clean Transport

After a long wait, we are starting to see more traction in the brand new heavy electric truck sector. Volvo, Scania, DAF, and several...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.