Electric car sales surpass diesel in EU and UK in December 2021

Electric vehicle changing on street parking with graphical user interface, Future EV car concept

Europe: In a milestone for the environment, Europeans purchased more electric cars than those powered by diesel, According to recent data, over 20 percent of new cars sold in Europe and the United Kingdom (UK) in December 2021 were electric. Meanwhile, the sale of diesel vehicles in the European Union (EU) slipped below 19 percent.

While many developed nations have pledged to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles in the next 20 years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the transition will be more complicated in developing countries where old imported cars are often the most affordable option. 

Rob de Jong, Head of Sustainable Mobility Unit, UNEP said that this trend shows that consumers are keenly interested in shifting to cleaner vehicles due to a combination of factors.

“The first is economic incentives. Electric vehicle subsidies were (and often still are) very high at several thousands of dollars per vehicle, although governments are slowly reducing these subsidies as they become more mainstream. Second, diesel vehicle sales have continued to decline since we discovered that actual emissions were much higher than we thought – after some manufacturers were caught cheating on emissions tests,” he said.

Meanwhile, the sale of electric vehicles globally has doubled every year, with the highest growth rates in Europe. 
The leader in Norway, where 80 percent of all new vehicles are currently being sold is fully electric.

This has massive benefits for pollutant and climate emissions as diesel vehicles are a leading contributor to small particulate emissions pollution, so-called PM 2.5, which has major health impacts. 

He said that to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement, we have to switch to zero-emissions mobility worldwide. We should not forget that we also need to better design our cities and promote walking, cycling, and public transport.

” In 2050 globally, two out of three vehicles will be found in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), so we must also include LMICs in shifting to zero-emissions mobility. We can’t afford for developed countries to switch while developing countries continue using fossil fuel vehicles” he said.

“There are many good reasons for LMICs to make the shift. It is predicted that the number of vehicles in LMICs will grow by 1 billion by 2050. So, we can still avoid a major increase in fossil-fueled vehicles by putting in place the right measures” he said.

A 2020 report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found that the three largest exporters of used vehicles – Europe, Japan, and the United States exported 14 million used light-duty vehicles worldwide between 2015 and 2018.


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