New road vehicle CO2 emissions – response to DfT green paper28 Sep 2021

The RAC Foundation fully supports the government’s attempts to decarbonise road transport and backed, with caveats, the move to halt the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK in 2030. 

Commenting on the government’s Green Paper on a New Road Vehicle CO2 Emissions Regulatory Framework for the United Kingdom the Foundation recognises there is a strong argument for establishing a ‘glidepath’ to help the country get to 2030 with progressive falls in CO2 along the way. 

Ministers are proposing to set both a ZEV Mandate which will demand that car manufacturers sell an increasing proportion of zero-emission vehicles each year and a fleet-wide limit, tightening over time, on the tailpipe CO2 emissions that come from other vehicles sold which contain an internal combustion engine.

In its response to the green paper the RAC Foundation noted that:

  1. A ZEV mandate sets a sales target for the supply side (automotive manufacturers) however whether the target is reached depends greatly on consumer demand which is impacted by a multitude of factors including the general state of the economy, the availability of a reliable public charge point network and the level of government subsidies such as the plug-in grant
  2. existing, and proposed, CO2 limits are increased or decreased for individual manufacturers depending on the average weight of the vehicles they produce. The Foundation believes there is a case for removing these adjustments which could be seen as a perverse incentive to build larger, higher-emitting cars
  3. since January 2021 government has had a right to collect real world emissions data from new cars. The Foundation urges government to use its powers to collect the information and use it to determine whether, on the road, plug-in hybrids offer the performance figures measured in the lab. This data should also be made available to the buying public.