It's nice to read good news about emissions after all the recent events. I highly recommend reading the full PDF report too, it's very interesting, highlights the importance of diesels in the emission targets, and shows the way emissions are changing and trending towards strict EU future targets.
The SMMT has published the results of its New Car CO2 Report 2016 showing that average emissions are at their lowest levels ever in 2015 - to 121.4 g/km CO2, down 2.6 per cent on 2014, and 26.4 per cent versus 2007's pre-recession performance.
The study goes on to report that the UK is 6.6 per cent below the European Union's 2015 average of 130 g/km and highlighted the importance of diesel cars in reaching the current performance levels.
However the report does urge caution with plug-in vehicle registrations needed to continue market growth in order to meet targets in the future, with growth at 94 per cent from 2014 to 2015. It also says that a progression of 4.8 per cent per annum is needed to achieve the EU's target of 95 g/km CO2 on average by 2021.
The results come from the manufacturers' official CO2 figures, calculated using the New European Driving Cycle, which are used to determine the level of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) an owner pays. The cycle is recognised as unfit for purpose and will be repleced by both the World Light vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) and, in Europe, the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) tests.
The former will bring reported emissions and fuel economy figures closer into line with actual statistics, while the latter will produce results even closer to real-world driving emissions.
Before these tests come into play though, the only recognised and type approved cycle is the NEDC, which does at least work as a yardstick with which to compare models.
The report highlights the work done on reducing emissions levels across the board. For example, the sales weighted average CO2 figures for models in the Sports segment - 158.0 g/km - are only five g/km CO2 more than the average city car emissions in 2000. The small car sector now sees average emissions at 106.7 g/km CO2, while the largest market - Superminis, selling 926,000 units in 2015 - have an average of 111.8 g/km CO2.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: "Air quality and emissions are issues the motor industry takes very seriously. Automotive manufacturers are dedicated to producing the cleanest ever vehicles and invest billions developing innovative new technologies to improve our air. We believe this record of progress is one that needs to be told."
The SMMT considers that new cars are around 20 per cent cleaner than old models and, with fleet models replaced and cars renewed, the drop in average emissions figures will continue.
For any stataholics who enjoy finer details, here are the rankings for the European lowest average car emissions in order. French cars top the list thanks to thier super efficient petrol and diesel engines, even above the likes of mass hybrid producers like Toyota.