Statistics compiled by the Department for Transport (DfT) have revealed that the number of licensed vehicles in the UK has fallen for the first time in 30 years…
Fewer Cars in the UK
The number of licensed vehicles on British roads has fallen over the course of a year for the first time since 1991. According to data released by the DfT, the overall number of road-legal vehicles declined by a substantial 192,000 in 2020; largely as a result of motorists declaring them as being off of the road. Applications for Statutory Off Road Notifications (SORN) increased by 421,000, too. For the AA, this was largely a product of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jack Cousens, head of the AA’s road policy, said the figures represent just how disruptive the pandemic has been. He said, “the statistics are yet another indication of just how much the coronavirus epidemic has disrupted travel in the UK. Stuck in their homes for months on end, many car owners took the opportunity to save money by declaring that they had taken their vehicles off the road during the lockdowns”.
He added, “even today, with lockdown rapidly easing and a new relaxation of restrictions due on Monday, car travel during the working week remains at least 10 percent below pre-pandemic levels. The AA expects travel to pick up with the staycation. But the true test of ‘long covid’ for UK travel will come after the August Bank Holiday; and a full return to work”.
Diesel in Decline
The DfT’s figures also show that the decline of diesel shows no signs of abating. Some 179,000 ultra-low emission vehicles (which that emit less than 75g/km CO2) were registered in 2020. That represents a whopping 125% rise over 2019. In addition, more petrol-electric hybrids were registered during the year than diesel vehicles – 338,000 and 295,000 respectively.
Rod Dennis, speaking for the RAC, commented on the decline. He said, “with ever-more electrified models available, it’s looking increasingly likely that sales of diesel cars may now never recover to previous levels; which will help improve the air quality in towns and cities”.
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