Figures show the CO2-based tax regime has brought about a sea change in the cars we are choosing to buy. According to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), diesels now account for 52% of all cars sold, compared to just 32% last year. However, Ford says this actually downplays the shift, as dealers are still disposing of large stocks of petrol models from before the tax change. Over 90% of family cars being ordered in Ireland are now diesel, according to Ford Ireland chief Eddie Murphy. “If you consider the orders we are taking, and take out the Ka and Fiesta size models, we’re looking at a mix of over 90% diesel.”
The favourable CO2 rating of diesels compared to petrols has translated into lower VRT and lower road tax since the new tax regime was introduced in July of last year.
The most popular model in Ireland’s best-selling car range, the Ford Focus, is now the 1.6 litre diesel, displacing the perennial top–seller, the 1.4 petrol. Significantly, this car falls into the lowest ‘A’ tax bracket. “The environmental benefit of the tax change is evident in these stats,” says Murphy. “77% of all cars sold in Ireland up to June were in the lowest bands (A to C), and close to 90% of all Fords sold were in these bands.”
Mr. Murphy says these figures validate calls for a scrappage programme. “When you consider that 10 years ago even a small car like a Fiesta would be well outside these bands – in fact closer to band E than Band D – you can see the environmental rationale behind taking older cars off the road. Already the average emissions of cars sold are down from 162g in 2008 to 142g this year. That’s a saving of almost half a ton of CO2 per car per year. A scrappage scheme would help accelerate this much-needed reduction in emissions.”