SMMT's new car sales figure for March 2024: comment

Number of EVs sold in the first quarter of this year is up on last year.

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By George Smeeton

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Responding to the SMMT’s new car sales figures for March 2024 [1] Colin Walker, Head of Transport at the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, said,

“The number of EVs sold in the first quarter of this year is up on last year, but as the Office for Budget Responsibility has suggested, it seems Government U-turning on phasing-out the sale of brand-new petrol cars has left drivers confused about the direction of travel.

“With North Sea oil output in decline, reaching its lowest level since records began, this is the Government actively shooting itself in the foot on energy security as EVs can be powered by British wind and solar, whereas petrol cars will increasingly be dependent on foreign imports.

“Electric cars can save their drivers over £1000 a year in running costs [2] and cut emissions. As sticker prices continue to fall, and with an uptick in those getting their hands on an EV through work-based salary sacrifice schemes, they will become ever more affordable and available.

“If Government wants to help more drivers bring down their driving costs by switching to electric, getting a better grip of the UK’s charging infrastructure, which suffers from a lack of coordination and unnecessary hold ups in our planning system, would certainly help. It would also need to tackle the persistent misinformation about EVs called out recently in a House of Lords report as creating confusion among consumers". [3]