New car CO2 emissions on upward spiral


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A report by vehicle history and data expert identifies that the average CO2 emissions of new cars sold in Ireland is continuing to increase in 2019. After years of falling average emissions since 2004, 2018 recorded the first increase in average CO2 output from new cars, up to 113 g/km from 111 g/km in 2017, while the first two months of 2019 have recorded a further increase to 115 g/km.

Noting that the figures quoted are exclusively for new cars and don’t take into account imported vehicles, John Byrne,, says the reason for the increase may simply be the buying trend towards larger more practical vehicles like SUVs in favour of saloons.

“We considered whether the average emissions are possibly increasing in line with a buying trend towards purchase of more expensive vehicles, meaning these results are correlative with the general increase in the value of new vehicles sold. However, this wouldn’t really explain the increase in emissions per se as manufacturers have invested considerable amounts of money to reduce emissions in their fleet in-line with overarching concerns for the environment globally.”

Of course the other factor may be the significant shift from diesel to petrol in the past couple of years. After years of being discouraged to buy petrol cars precisely because of their high CO2 emissions while high NOx emissions from diesels were virtually ignored, the circle it seems has turned fully, with diesels and NOx now the current bête noire of policy deciders and legislators here and abroad.

Date CO2
2003-01-01 165
2004-01-01 166
2005-01-01 165
2006-01-01 165
2007-01-01 164
2008-01-01 159
2009-01-01 142
2010-01-01 136
2011-01-01 129
2012-01-01 125
2013-01-01 121
2014-01-01 117
2015-01-01 115
2016-01-01 112
2017-01-01 111
2018-01-01 113
2019-01-01 115