Ultra low emission vehicles make up just 0.5% of UK fleet

Only one in every 200 vehicles on UK roads emit ultra low levels of carbon emissions, new figures show.

Some 200,295 of the greener vehicles were licensed at the end of 2018, representing 0.5% of the country’s vehicle fleet.

This is up from 144,000 in 2017.

Ultra low emission vehicles (Ulevs) are defined as vehicles which emit less than 75g of carbon dioxide for every kilometre travelled, which normally means a pure electric or plug-in hybrid model.

The Department for Transport figures demonstrate the work still to be done to persuade motorists to switch to Ulevs, amid growing concern about the impact of petrol and diesel emissions on air quality and global warming.

The Government has outlined a goal for an end to sales of new conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040 as part of efforts to clean up transport.

London introduced one of the world’s toughest vehicle emissions standards this week.

Drivers of older, more polluting cars a being charged a new £12.50 fee to enter the ultra-low emission zone in the centre of the capital.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “These figures show there remains a gaping hole between the ambition to green the vehicle fleet and the reality on the road.

“The relatively slow take up of electric cars shows how important government incentives remain and any changes – such as cuts in the level of the plug-in grant and restrictions on eligibility seen in October last year – have to be finely tuned.

“The data also underlines the continued dominance of diesel. Whilst there are more petrol cars than diesel, diesel fuel sells at almost twice the volume because of its use in almost all commercial vehicles including HGVs and the fast-rising number of vans.”