The average age of a UK car is now 8.4 years – the highest figure because records began, with practically 10 million cars from 2008 and earlier still on the road.
The total number of cars on UK roads has also fallen for the first time because 2009 to 40,350,714 units in 2020. Of these, 35,082,800 are cars – down 0.2 per cent – and 4,604,861 are vans – up 1.7 per cent to a record high that implies vans now account for 11.4 per cent of all cars on the road.
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According to new figures from the society of motor producers and Traders (SMMT), the number of HGVs in the UK fell 3.1 per cent to 589,445 units last year, while bus and trainer numbers declined 10.7 per cent to 73,608.
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The closure of car dealerships during Covid-19 lockdowns and the resulting decline in new car sales has contributed to the rising age of UK cars. The average car on our roads was built in 2011 – a positive in terms of car durability, the SMMT says, but a negative in context of the UK’s goal to achieve net zero carbon by 2050.
An average new car from 2020 emits 112.8g/km of CO2 – 18.3 per cent less than a model registered in 2011. It is for this reason that the SMMT believes fleet renewal is essential, with “both conventional and alternatively fuelled cars having a significant role to play”.