A huge uptake in the sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars has seen the average CO2 emissions of cars sold across Europe plunge by 12 per cent. 

Automotive data experts JATO Dynamics analysed registrations in 21 countries across Europe in 2020 and found that average CO2 tailpipe emissions were 106.7g/km last year, down from 121.6g/km in 2019.

JATO believes there are two reasons for this. The enforcement of WLTP economy rules is one, but the more interesting aspect is consumer desire for EVs and plug-in hybrid cars, which has seen a seismic shift.

Registrations of electric and plug-in hybrid models totalled 1.21 million units across Europe last year, making up 10.6 per cent of the market. That’s compared with just 466,000 in 2019, with 3.1 per cent of registrations.

The increase is at odds with moves by the UK government to slash the UK’s plug-in car grant, which came in a surprise announcement midway through March.

The Chief Executive of the UK’s leading industry body - The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders - criticised the UK government for reducing the plug-in car grant last month.

Mike Hawes warned that the UK was ‘pursuing an entirely different path to the rest of Europe’ when it came to electric cars.

Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst, said:

In a year when millions of potential buyers were not allowed to leave their homes, it is notable that total average emissions decreased by 15g/km. It signifies a fundamental change to our notion of mobility and a greater appetite for sustainable options.

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