The economic meltdown and the Government's "cash for bangers" scheme resulted in a decline in the number of cars on the roads for the first time in 64 years, a study has found.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), in 2009 a total of 31,035,791 cars were in use in the country - a drop of 0.7% compared with the 2008 figure.
The study showed that the year-on-year drop in the count of cars was the first in peacetime since vehicle records began in 1904. Meanwhile, cars emitted 1.75% less CO2 in 2009 than in the previous year on average.
Also, silver cars remained consumers' favourite - as it topped the colour charts for the second consecutive year. Blue and black cars were next on the list.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: "The recession is the most obvious factor impacting on the number of cars on the road.
"The scrappage incentive scheme has also removed a large number of older and more polluting vehicles. Alongside these economic factors, tough enforcement has helped remove unlicensed vehicles from UK roads."
© Press Association 2010