Commenting on data released today that shows a drop in new car registrations in 2017, RAC roads policy spokesman Nicholas Lyes said:
“These statistics appear to confirm an uncomfortable truth – that new car registrations are falling because there is increasing confusion over what vehicles drivers should opt for next. The risk is that owners are holding on to their older vehicles for longer. This is bad news as far as efforts to improve local air quality is concerned as like-for-like newer models have lower emissions.
“As we feared, it also seems to be the case that the changes to Vehicle Excise Duty brought in last year may be actively putting people off choosing an ultra-low emission vehicle. While drivers of electric vehicles benefit from paying no vehicle tax, those that opt for new ultra-low-emission vehicles now pay more after the first year than they did previously, which arguably doesn’t send the right message to prospective buyers looking to do the right thing. Indeed, after the first year, there is almost no car tax incentive to switch to any new vehicle with lower than average emissions.
“The numbers of ultra-low emission vehicles chosen by drivers still represent a tiny fraction of the total new registrations. The future might be zero-emission, but before we get there much more needs to be done to encourage people into the cleanest alternatives.”