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Diesel and petrol powered cars decline in Belgium, the EU

© Port of Zeebrugge

Vehicles with traditional engines are being outpaced by hybrid and electric cars in Belgium and across Europe, according to figures released Friday by carmakers.

Diesel cars accounted for just 23.2% of auto registrations in Europe in the first quarter, down from nearly 30% in early 2020.

In Belgium, the declines are 20.8% for diesel vehicles and 11.5% for petrol engines.

The weak recovery of the car market, depressed by the health crisis, has mainly benefited hybrid and electric vehicles, whose sales have continued to explode.

Hybrid cars now represent 18.4% of the market, with 469,784 vehicles sold (+101.6%). Sales have exploded in Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Poland.

In Belgium, plug-in hybrids seem to be the most popular type of vehicle, with a 151.1% increase in sales to 12,743 vehicles in the first quarter of 2021.

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In the EU plug-in hybrids jumped by 175% to 8.2% of the market, to 208,389 units, with sales still driven by Italy (+446%) but also by Sweden, Germany and France.

Battery-powered cars accounted for 5.7% of the market, with 146,185 units (+59.1%), with “demand still being boosted by government subsidies for low-emission vehicles,” according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

The Netherlands, Sweden and Spain, on the other hand, recorded a drop in sales of electric models.

Sales of diesel cars fell in Europe overall by 20.1% year-on-year to 593,559, according to the ACEA. Germany and Spain in particular recorded falls of almost 30%.

Petrol cars also fell by 16.9% to 1.1 million units, representing a 42.2% market share, compared to 52.3% at the beginning of 2020.

The Brussels Times