The car industry has hit back at claims that it is one of the main contributors to climate change, saying that drivers are more concerned about the environment than ever before. New figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggest UK consumers are switching to more fuel-efficient cars, with diesel-powered vehicles accounting for 41% of new registrations in October – the highest diesel percentage this year.
SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan says: “Fuel efficiency and increased environmental awareness are now high on customers’ priorities.” The SMMT figures come amid growing concerns about global warming following the publication of the Stern Report.The SMMT’s seventh annual Sustainability Report shows that from 2001 to 2005 average energy use reduced from 6.2 to 3.2 megawatt hours per vehicle. The corresponding CO2 figure per vehicle was down from 1.3 tonnes to 0.6 tonnes and water use almost halved from 6.2m3 to 3.2m3. Macgowan adds: “Environmental issues are high on everyone’s agenda, be it car makers or car buyers. The Sustainability Report clearly shows the motor industry is taking its environmental responsibilities seriously.” Meanwhile, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association is stepping up its campaign to stop the European Union from imposing tough new laws to reduce carbon emissions from all new cars. ACEA says consumers show strong demand for “larger, safer vehicles and disappointing acceptance of extremely fuel-efficient cars that are in line with the CO2 commitment”.