High-emission SUVs could be pulled from the UK’s new car market, the automotive industry has warned.
Under new EU rules, average carbon dioxide emissions of almost all cars sold in 2020 and 2021 across the single market, including the UK, must fall below 95g a kilometre, with heavy fines for carmakers that miss individual targets designed to meet the goal.
The heavier, fuel-inefficient SUVs favoured by UK drivers have been offset by the smaller, less polluting cars preferred in countries such as Italy.
However, after Brexit – when the UK plans to copy EU rules – this will no longer be the case, making a UK-only limit harder to hit.
“It could be that you see a reduction in consumer choice”
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: “[Carmakers] will have to look at their model mix … you’ve got to see whether that’s economic.
“The fines are going to be severe and all of them will do everything they can to avoid that.
“It could be that you see a reduction in consumer choice through the removal of higher-emitting vehicles from not just the top end, but particular segments.”
Vehicle manufacturers breaching individual CO2 targets will pay fines of £83 for every gram they are over their limit, multiplied by the number of cars sold that year.
According to SMMT data, average UK emissions were 127.9g a kilometre in 2019, 35 per cent above the 95g target for 2020 and 2021.
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Government figures show that cars account for just over 18 per cent of UK emissions.
Action in the transport sector is considered crucial to cutting emissions to 51 per cent of 1990 levels by 2025 and to reach net zero by 2050.
The carbon dioxide emissions of cars sold to British consumers rose for the third year in a row in 2019.
It’s thought that an imminent Brexit at the end of January will force carmakers to make choices before the end of 2020, when the implementation period is scheduled to end and the UK-only limits kick in.
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