Figures show carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fell by their biggest-ever margin last year showing new cars are getting "greener".
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the average new model now emits 158 grams of CO2 per one kilometre, 4.2% less than the 2007 figure and 16.8% less than 1997.
The organisation said that although the number of cars on the road and the distance travelled has increased, total UK emissions from cars continue to fall and now amount to just 11.5% of the country's total CO2 emissions.
The SMMT said new technology, improved fuel consumption rates and better consumer awareness has cut the emissions new cars produce.
It added that consumer awareness and rises in vehicle tax had resulted in a move towards "best in class" cars with lower emissions.
However, it warns that while improvements have been made more needs to be done if European emissions targets, which say average car emissions must not exceed 130g/km by 2015, are to be met.
In the UK, there are 236 models emitting less than 130g/km on the UK market but for the target to be met, an annual improvement of 2.5% per year must be maintained.
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