Low carbon cars could cut CO2 by 47%

Low carbon cars could cut CO2 by 47%

The cost of motoring will fall in Britain as a result of efforts to tackle carbon emissions and clean up urban air pollution, according to a new study by Cambridge Econometrics.

In 2014, the average motorist spent £1,190 on fuel. By 2030, fuelling the average new low-carbon car could be £600 cheaper per year. The average electric car could deliver even bigger savings in annual energy costs, worth around £960.

In addition, CO2 emissions could be cut by 47% by 2030, and as much as 80% in 2050. The reduction of air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and particulates, would help lower the incidence of respiratory diseases valued at over £1bn to the UK economy.

While these ultra low emission vehicles will be more costly to buy at the outset, the initial investment will be outweighed by energy-savings within a few years, leaving households significantly better off.

Jerry Hardcastle OBE, Global Chief Marketability Engineer at Nissan, said: "The report clearly demonstrates how battery electric vehicles will continue to positively contribute to the UK economy.

"Beyond the jobs that we have created in Sunderland around the production of the Nissan LEAF electric car there will further developments in the products and services that support zero emissions mobility.

"Over time it is becoming clear that each battery EV is an investment in public health as it will also enable the necessary air quality improvements in urban environments."

The paper, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, finds that even if oil prices were to remain at today’s unusually low level, energy-savings would rapidly outweigh the cost of low-carbon technologies.

From a national perspective, by 2030, the total cost of renewing and fuelling the UK car fleet would be £7 billion lower for low-carbon vehicles than if the fleet were to continue running on today’s technology, or £5 billion cheaper in a low oil price scenario.

The car and van fleet would also be increasingly powered by domestically-produced clean energy sources, reducing Britain’s dependence on oil imports from overseas and helping protect households and businesses from volatile oil prices.

However, the report notes that this transition would not be without its challenges. Investments would need to be made in new infrastructure, Britain’s automotive workforce would need to gain new skills to remain competitive and there would be job losses in the refining of fossil fuels.

But overall, Britain would reduce its dependence on imported oil, the economy would become more resilient, the climate would be better protected and the air in our cities would be cleaner.

Download a ten-page summary of the report here

Cambridge Econometrics

Peter Thomas

Author:Peter Thomas
Date Updated:10th Mar 2015

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