Vehicle Count Up, Emissions Down

Been stuck in yet another traffic jam recently? If you have, it’s hardly surprising. Recently published figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that the number of cars on UK roads is at an all-time high. Over the past year they increased by 124,393 to a total of 35,148,045, the first increase since 2019.

It’s a similar story on the commercial vehicle front. The number of trucks increased by 1.9% to 615,570 (another record) and the number of vans by 1.7% to 4,887,593. Looking at that latter figure, vans now make up nearly one in eight vehicles on our roads. The Brits love their vans!

The one outlier in this vehicle growth story is the UK’s  bus and coach fleet, which fell by 2.3% to 72,766 – a record low. This does, perhaps, reflect that, post-pandemic, the demand for public transport has failed to return to anywhere near pre-Covid levels.

Whilst increasing queues of vehicles isn’t what you want if you’re trying to get anywhere in a hurry, there is good news on air quality levels. As more and more of us are choosing environmentally friendly vehicles, average car and van C02 emissions fell by 1.6%. One in 32 cars on UK roads now has a plug – a 50%-plus rise over the past year. Electrically powered commercial vehicles rose by 67% and coaches by 35%. However that only accounts for fewer than one in 600 commercial vehicles and coaches.

“As we pull away from the pandemic years and the supply of parts improves, it’s clearly having a positive impact on vehicle manufacturing and sales,” says Richard Owen-Hughes, Driver Hire’s Marketing Director. “That’s great news for the UK’s motor manufacturing industries. Even better are the emissions figures with increasing numbers of cleaner, environmentally friendly vehicles on our roads.”