New Car Fuel Consumption & Emission Figures

This page was last updated on 19th October 2021

Cars and Emissions

Climate change is one of the most pressing environmental challenges we face, and the UK is committed to tackling it. We agree the need to limit global warming to well below 2oC and that is why in June 2019 the UK became the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to climate change by 2050.

Transport remains the largest emitting sector of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the UK, contributing 27% of UK domestic emissions in 2019. Since 1990, other sectors have reduced emissions dramatically, with total domestic emissions dropping by 44%. In comparison, transport emissions have only fallen by 5%.

The majority of our transport emissions come from road transport, so decarbonising cars and vans is a priority. When fossil fuels – petrol, diesel and most alternative fuels, are burnt for energy in an internal combustion engine the main by-products are water and carbon dioxide (CO2).  Although not directly harmful to human health, CO2 is the most significant of the greenhouse gases (GHG) contributing to climate change.  In the UK road transport is now the largest source of CO2 emissions.

The combustion process also results in gases, and particles (known as particulate matter or ‘PM’), that can be hazardous to health. Tyre, brake and road wear is a further source of PM.  Poor roadside air quality causes immediate (acute effects) and/or longer term (chronic) impacts. The new official test, WLTP, as discussed above, provides more representative information on fuel economy, CO2 and air pollutant emissions.

In November 2020 the government announced it would phase-out the sale of new petrol and diesel vans by 2030 and that all new cars and vans sold must be fully zero emission at the tailpipe by 2035 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-takes-historic-step-towards-net-zero-with-end-of-sale-of-new-petrol-and-diesel-cars-by-2030,

Since 1 January 2019 WLTP has been used for official consumer information on fuel economy.  A later date of the 6 April 2020 was introduced for WLTP derived CO2 emissions, to align with related changes to taxation and other motoring costs including incentives for some ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).    Government continues to work with motor manufactures and other stakeholders to consider how information can be improved.