Cars get cleaner as emissions fall 4.2 per cent in 2011

According to CO2 emission level figures cars are getting cleaner with the emissions falling 4.2 per cent for the average new car in 2011 and a reduction of 23 per cent since 2000 according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

However, the average new-car emissions figure of 138g of CO2 per one kilometre (138g/km) was higher than the 130g/km European legislative target for 2015.

According to SMMT figures, in 2011, a total of 46 per cent of new cars had emissions less than the 130g/km figure and additionally 65,000 vehicles were exempt from payment of vehicle excise duty as they were below 100g/km.

Executive cars (down 9.5 per cent) and specialist sports cars (down 7.0 per cent) showed the emission level declines last year as against 2010, while executive cars (down 34.9 per cent) and cars in the mini sector (down 29.9 per cent) showed the most emissions improvements since 2000.

Among new vehicles last year, the Mini sector had the lowest average emission levels at 107.8g/km - while luxury saloons had the highest at 221.8g/km.

In 2011 new cars were 18 per cent cleaner than the UK average and diesel cars took a 50.6 per cent share of the market last year, while alternatively fuelled vehicles had a 1.3 per cent share.