A new report published has rubbished the myth that cars are the biggest CO2 polluters.
The report shows that today’s newer car models generate only 14% of all CO2 emissions in the UK, compared to 32% from electric generation at power stations and 24% from industry work.
This figure is less than that in 2000, albeit marginally, although there has been an increase of four million extra cars on the roads of Britain since, according to an "Energy Use and CO2 Emissions" report from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).
Total emissions in the UK are still forecasted to increase, although those from cars are expected to continue falling.
While carbon emissions from all forms of road transport (24 per cent) continue to rise, the average rate from cars fell from 196 grammes of CO2 per kilometre in 1997, to 174g/km in 2008.
The IAM has stated that since 1997, the overall fuel economy of newer car models has improved by 25%, although this is mainly in the last ten years. In 1997 average fuel consumption was 8.23 litres per 100km. In 2008 it had dropped to 6.93 litres pre 100km.
The IAM also believe that households generate as much CO2 emissions as cars, and the perception by people that cars and aircrafts are the two biggest polluters is wrong.
They believe that the fall in emissions is down to consumers buying ‘greener’ cars, and embracing incentives like cheaper vehicle excise duty for more fuel efficient models. They also extend credit to manufacturers of vehicles who are continually producing more efficient and greener vehicles.
However, VW recently made headlines for not producing ‘green enough’ cars, and were accused of exaggerating their green record and refusing to make popular models like the Golf more fuel efficient.
The accusation came from Greenpeace, who said that despite their family friendly brand, VW had made less progress on fuel efficiency than rivals like BMW and Toyota. The 24 page report went on to advise how VW only put their green engines in 6% of their cars, and inflates the price by more than its cost.
VW responded to the claims by saying, “It is the goal of the Volkswagen Group to be the industry leader in innovation and in the environmental performance of the company and its products." The most recent tangible evidence of these intentions, it said, was shown by the prototype VW XL1 which, with an 800cc diesel engine, has a rating of 24g CO2/km.”