No more old cars on UK roads

MORE OLD bangers are circulating on UK roads after the number of new cars sold in the UK fell for the first time in six years.

Figures show that the proportion of oldest cars on UK roads – those over 13 years old – has almost tripled in the past two decades.

Some 17.5% of the cars, or nearly 5.5 million, in circulation at the end of last year were registered in 2004 or earlier, according to figures from the Ministry of Transport.


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This suggests that the UK car fleet is aging because drivers are being deterred from making new purchases.

The government has admitted that changes to road tax last year may have led to a drop in the number of new cars sold, with owners of eight in ten new cars now expected to pay more.

Car groups have warned that the introduction of new taxes on diesel cars is also driving the trend. This includes paying more to park cars in certain parts of London.

New vehicle registrations fell nearly 6% overall last year, while the number of new diesel cars alone fell 17%.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said the cars’ increasing age partly reflected the “quality and reliability” of modern vehicles, although he warned it meant that “some of the oldest cars and the most polluting could be with us longer than is desirable”.

Jack Cousens, head of road policy for the AA, said changes to excise duty on vehicles had “forced higher tax bills on those who want to choose greener cars”.

“Until this anomaly is resolved, drivers seem keen to keep their vehicles on the road longer, even though they are some of the most polluting cars,” he added.

DfT figures show a record 37.7million vehicles were on UK roads at the end of last year.

The number of new registrations – cars put into circulation for the first time last year – amounts to 3.1 million. This was 5.9% or 193,000 less than the previous year and the first decline since 2011.

According to the DfT, the number of new registrations started to fall from April last year when changes to road tax were introduced. It requires drivers of all cars to pay a flat charge of £140 from the second year of ownership, with only zero-emission electric vehicles exempt, driving up bills by around eight in 10 new cars. Previously, many other green vehicles such as hybrids, which run on both electric and gasoline engines, would also not have attracted road tax.

The change seems to have led many owners to hang on to existing cars longer.

According to figures, the average age of all vehicles on UK roads was around eight years old at the end of last year, rising to just over nine for petrol cars, a slight increase from compared to the previous year.

Some 17.5% of all cars are now at least 13 years old, down from 16.6% in 2016 and 15.3% in 2015. In 1994, when comparable statistics were first published, only 6.3 % of cars were 13 years or older.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC traffic policy spokesman, said: ‘These statistics appear to confirm an uncomfortable truth: that new car registrations are falling because there is growing confusion about which vehicles drivers should be opting for. the next. The risk is that owners keep their old vehicles longer. This is bad news for efforts to improve local air quality, as similar newer models have lower emissions.

Graeme Paton

This article first appeared in The Times

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