New Car Fuel Consumption & Emission Figures

This page was last updated on 27th November 2023

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 26% of UK domestic emissions in 2021.

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 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.

On 28 September 2023, the Government set out the percentage of new zero emission cars and vans that manufacturers will be required to produce each year up to 2030, following the Prime Minister’s announcement to delay the ban on new diesel and petrol cars from 2030 to 2035. This requires 80% of new cars and 70% of new vans sold in Great Britain to be zero emission by 2030, increasing to 100% by 2035.

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.