The latest figures from the Society of Motoring Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show average new car emissions dropped by 4.7 per cent in the first six months of 2010 to 145.2g/km compared to the first half of 2009.
The figure is now just 15.2g/km off the average CO2 emissions level every manufacturer must reach by 2015 under new European legislation.
Registrations of alternatively fuelled cars – for example, electric and hybrid models – have doubled over the same period and eco-badged models such as the Vauxhall Ecoflex range have increased by 141 per cent on 2010.
However many industry experts are concerned at the slowing rate of improvement in CO2 emissions. Average new car CO2 figures have fallen in every month of 2010 so far, although the rate of decline has been less following the end of the scrappage scheme in April.
Jay Nagley, Publisher of Clean Green Cars commented, "Car manufacturers are swimming against the tide now that the scrappage scheme has ended. They are going to have to redouble their efforts to meet what is a reasonable overall target."
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive believes the introduction of new technology by manufacturers has led to better-than-expected CO2 emissions figures but agrees manufacturers must invest in green technology.
He said: "The remainder of the year is set to be challenging, especially post the scrappage scheme. All manufacturers are committed to offering ever more efficient products through the introduction of increasingly efficient engines and alternative technologies."
So far Fiat, with its range of low-CO2 engines for the 500 and 500C city cars, boasts average emissions under 130g/km. However, French marque’s Citroen and Peugeot have seen a marked improvement in the past sixth months and are expected to fall below the 130g/km figure in the next 12 months.