average greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles sold in New Zealand in 2019 dropped at a significantly faster rate than in the previous five years, the Motor Industry Association said. 

Chief executive David Crawford said emissions dropped from 220.7g/km to 174.4, a fall of 21% since 2006 when the MIA began annual recording of average emissions for new vehicles as they enter the fleet. 

The reduction rate had been flat since 2014 but had begun accelerating again in 2018 with the 2019 drop of 2.6% being the biggest reduction in one year since 2013. 

Crawford said this was a positive trend and the result of a growing range of models with some form of electrification coming on to the market as well as increasing fuel efficiency across a range of new vehicles.

"There has been a significant increase in sales of vehicles with some form of electrification, which includes hybrid, plug in electric hybrid and pure battery electric vehicles and this is starting to have a positive impact on our emissions.

"This is certainly an accelerating trend. The rate of reduction in average emissions is heading in the right direction with the biggest drop in emissions coming last year compared to the last five years.

"Nearly 9000 new vehicles powered by some form of electrification sold in New Zealand last year.  That's a major jump from the previous year when there were fewer than 4000 sold. 

"As the range of brands and models of electric vehicles grows, they're also becoming more affordable, and more New Zealanders are seeing them as being a viable purchase."

He said the drop in emissions was also helped by the big volume of small efficient petrol vehicles on the market and increased efficiency across a range of models.

"New Zealand is a fast technology adopter and the popularity of electrified vehicles reflects that.

"We are a tiny market on the global stage and have minimal ability to directly influence manufacturers but these figures show that we are able to closely follow progressive regions, such as Europe, in reducing emissions from our light vehicle fleet."

He added the accelerating rate in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the new vehicle fleet calls into question the need for the NZ government to introduce its proposed clean car policies.

"However, if the government feels the need to introduce policies to support the reduction in emission then the proposed clean car discount, which provides rebates to purchasers of fuel efficient vehicles while attaching penalties to larger less fuel efficient models, will help reinforce this positive trend."

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