Average CO2 emissions generated by new cars in Europe increased during 2017 – the first rise in 10 years.The analysis, carried out by JATO Dynamics, covered 23 European markets and found that average CO2emissions increased by 0.3g/km in 2017 – finishing at 118.1g/km.
This rise in average CO2 emissions correlates with a decrease in demand for diesel cars across Europe –which produce lower CO2 emissions than petrol cars – and the rising popularity of SUVs, which emit higheraverage CO2 emissions.
Data for 2017 shows that diesel cars registered in the market had a CO2 emissions average of 117.9g/km,compared to petrol cars, which had an average of 123.4g/km – a difference of 5.5g/km. Likewise, theaverage power output of a diesel engine registered in the EU was found to be 142HP, with 117.9g/km CO2emitted. The average power output of a petrol engine registered in the EU was found to be 123HP, with123.4g/km emitted – this shows that diesels are chosen by customers who prioritise power output andtorque.
With increased negative public perception towards diesels, combined with increased government regulationand scrutiny of the fuel type, the volume of diesel cars registered fell by 7.9% to 6.77 million units in 2017.In turn, diesel cars accounted for just 43.8% of total registrations in 2017, which is 11.1 percentage pointslower than their peak, seen in 2011, and the fuel type’s lowest market share since 2003, when dieselsaccounted for 43.4% of total registrations.
Whilst demand for diesel cars declined in 2017, registrations of petrol cars increased by 10.9% – the highestlevel since 2003. This meant the market share of petrol vehicles grew by 3 percentage points from 47% to50% between 2016 and 2017.
As demand for diesel cars continues to decline, consumers will increasingly turn to petrol vehicles and thoseseeking higher power and torque will emit higher average CO2 emissions than if they used diesel. This willlikely lead to average CO2 emissions further increasing in the future.
Alternative-Fuelled-Vehicles only experienced a small increase in volume. Despite the declining popularityof diesels, they increased their market share from 3% in 2016 to 5% in 2017. Battery-Electric-Vehicles(BEVs) experienced meagre growth too. This could be due to consumer scepticism when it comes to the battery ranges of BEVs and the number of charging points available on the road network at present. Incomparison, the market share of hybrid vehicles increased by one percentage point.
Demand for SUVs continued to rise in 2017 – but despite the introduction of smaller SUVs to the marketand the adoption of hybrid solutions, which helped reduce the segments average CO2 emissions from134.9g/km in 2016 to 133.0g/km in 2017, SUVs contributed to the overall increase of average CO2 emissionsin Europe. This was because they emitted far higher average CO2 emissions than the new car average of118.1g/km in 2017.
The shift in fuel type from diesel to petrol – combined with an increase in registrations in the SUV segment– is crucial to understanding the change in CO2 emissions.
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