CO2 emissions of new cars reached record-low level in 2021

CO2 emissions of new cars reached record-low level in 2021
The decrease in CO2 emissions is mainly due to the growing popularity of electric and hybrid cars. Credit: Belga

The average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars registered in Belgium were never as low as in 2021, as electrified cars are making a historic breakthrough on the market.

In 2020, the average CO2 emissions according to the old New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test was 107.9 grams/kilometre (g/km). Last year, this dropped to 97.1 g/km, the lowest level ever recorded in Belgium, according to figures published by the sector federation Febiac.

According to the global harmonised and more modern Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) test, average CO2 emissions dropped from 130.7 g/km in one year to 116.9 g/km in 2021.

This is mainly due to the growing popularity of electric and hybrid cars, especially among those purchased by businesses. “Electrified cars have made a historic breakthrough and for the first time reach a level comparable to that of diesel cars,” the organisation stated in its press release.

Companies going green

The number of electrified vehicles (both hybrid and electric cars combined) registered in Belgium rose by 63.8% in one year, and they now have a market share of 23.5%, a level comparable to diesel cars, of which the market share fell by 9.2 percentage points compared to 2020, to 23.7%.

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Almost 23,000 all-electric cars and 48,000 new hybrid cars with a plug were registered in Belgium in 2021. Of the former, nine in 10 were registered in the name of companies or the self-employed.

Around half of the newly registered self-recharging hybrids (almost 20,000) were purchased in this way, with the other half registered by private individuals.

These figures reflect the implementation of a law that will result in company cars becoming subject to stricter environmental regulations. By 2026, the new legislation on the deductibility of company cars will impose zero emissions as a requirement for the cars to be 100% tax-deductible.

According to Febiac, the automotive sector is investing heavily in the development and marketing of electrified vehicles, reflected in the ever-increasing range of models. “By the end of 2021, a record of 70 different BEV models and 87 different PHEV models were on sale in Belgium.”

Despite this large increase in more eco-friendly options for cars, the gasoline engine remains the first choice of motorists in Belgium, with a market share of 52%.

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