UK motor industry still pushing gas guzzlers

Posted: 29 March 2007

As 'The Sexy Green Car Show' opens at the Eden Project in Cornwall (30 March - 15 April 2006), a new survey reveals that most car ads in national newspapers are for gas-guzzling vehicles.

The Government and motor industry must do much more to promote fuel efficient cars, says Friends of the Earth which made the survey. This exposes motor industry claims that it produces greener cars but "the problem is that motorists do not buy them!" It also highlights one of the reasons why the motor industry is set to miss its voluntary target for selling more fuel-efficient vehicles. The new ad figures show no improvement since a similar survey 18 months ago.

The motor industry is also lobbying strongly against EU plans to introduce new mandatory targets to cut emissions from new cars. As a result of this lobbying, the European Commission has now proposed a weaker target than one agreed 12 years ago. The motor industry complains that this weaker target is still to tough.

Friends of the Earth's senior transport campaigner, Tony Bosworth, said:"The motor industry says that it is concerned about climate change, yet most of its adverts are still for gas-guzzling vehicles. It's little wonder that the industry has failed to meet its voluntary target for selling greener cars. The industry should spend less time and money lobbying against targets to cut carbon emissions from its products, and more time and money into building and promoting greener cars".

"Ministers must do more to encourage motorists to buy greener cars. Last week's announcement of a modest increase in road tax for gas-guzzling vehicles was a small step in the right direction. But the Government must go much further to substantially cut carbon dioxide emissions from cars."

Most polluting From an analysis of car adverts placed in national newspapers over a two week period, leading up to the new car registration release in March 2007, the survey discovered that 55 per cent were for cars in the most polluting VED bands E to G - cars that emit over 165 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g/km CO2).

The figures show no improvement since Friends of the Earth carried out similar research in September 2005 when it was found that 57.6 per cent of adverts were for vehicles with emissions over 165g/km. The European Commission has recently acknowledged that car advertising is promoting the trend towards bigger and more powerful cars. Carbon dioxide emissions from road transport have risen by nearly seven per cent since 1990 and currently account for over 21 per cent of total UK emissions. They are forecast to rise by a further 18 per cent between 2005 and 2020, when they will represent over 26 per cent of total UK emissions.

Friends of the Earth is calling for the Government to increase road tax on gas-guzzling vehicles, and cut it further for more fuel efficient models.

Related link:

Green car show to open in Cornwall