Shaun Sadlier's blog: Rising emissions are disappointing
22 January 2018
Perhaps you have got to have worked in the fleet industry for a reasonable period of time to recognise just how disappointing it is that annual new car CO2 figures have risen for the first time in two decades.
According to the SMMT, the final figure for 2017 was 121.04g/km, up 0.8% on 2016. This increase isn't huge but, when you are part of a sector that has worked continually to push down vehicle CO2 over many, many years, you know just how difficult it is to achieve even small gains.
The cause of this is, as you'll know, the backlash against diesel that is being seen among new car buyers and an increasing swing towards petrol. There is little point rehashing that particular debate here but what has been little discussed is that, in terms of CO2, we are very much in a period of transition.
If you want the lowest CO2 output and are covering more than a minimum level of mileage, a Euro 6 diesel certainly remains the best and most viable option for most fleets. However, for some organisations, it is becoming less and less acceptable to run such vehicles. Of the alternatives, petrol creates more CO2, the real world CO2 outputs of some of the most popular hybrids are questionable, and while electric vehicles (EVs) nominally have a zero CO2 output, range and charging infrastructure remain issues.
In the medium-long term, these problems will probably be solved - new-generation petrols will edge ever closer to diesel CO2 figures, hybrid performance will become more predictable, and the issues currently surrounding EVs will be resolved.
Until that time, it seems that we are probably condemned to seeing the CO2 output of new cars continue to rise. However, at Arval we are very much committed to minising this trend as much as possible through sound advice and consultancy.
Shaun Sadlier is head of consulting at Arval