Economists at trade group The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have calculated that car makers saved nearly 5m tonnes of CO2 in the last 10 years – thanks to the development of cleaner, ‘greener’ cars.

Average new car CO2 emissions have fallen by 22.6 g/km to 167.2 g/km since 1997, down by nearly 12%. That equates to current annual CO2 emissions savings approaching 1m tonnes.

“Car makers have made significant progress in cutting CO2,” said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan.

“Total CO2 emissions in the UK from cars have actually fallen since 1997, down 3.2% from 72.2m to 69.9m tonnes in 2005. That’s despite a 16.5% rise in cars on the road from 26.3 to 30.7m.”