Report on Motoring 2016

Choice of next vehicle

4.2 Choice of next vehicle

The environmental impact of motoring ranks low on the list of drivers’ concerns in 2016: only 7% say this is one of their top four concerns. It comes as no surprise that there has been little change in the percentage of motorists who would consider a more environmentally friendly vehicle when thinking about their next car purchase.


14% of drivers intend to opt for a conventional hybrid car


More than half (51%) say they expect their next car to be petrol-fuelled (53% in 2015), while 28% will opt for a diesel (the same as in 2015). Only one in seven (14%) intend to opt for a conventional hybrid car, the same proportion as in 2015, while there has only been a very slight increase in the number of motorists who plan to buy a plug-in hybrid or extended-range electric vehicle (from 4% to 5%) and in the percentage who will opt for a pure electric battery-powered car (from 1% to 2%).


Driver attitudes to fuel types

51% of motorists say they expect their next car to be petrol-fuelled

28% of drivers say they will opt for a diesel when they buy their next car

5% plan to buy a plug-in hybrid or extended-range electric vehicle


Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that in 2015, sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), which include hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars, rose by almost a third (32%)24.

AFVs now have a total market share of 3.2% of new vehicle sales. Increases in sales of plug-in vehicles are likely to continue after the Government agreed to extend its Plug-In Car grant scheme until at least March 201825.

Increased awareness of the health risks associated with nitrogen dioxide and particulate emissions from diesel engines (see section 4.3) may be the reason some motorists say they will not opt for a diesel as their next car. This is despite today’s diesels being the cleanest ever and emitting only a small fraction of emissions compared to previous generations of vehicles.

Four in 10 (41%) say they will avoid diesels, and of this group more than a third (35%) cite pollution as the main reason.

Of those who say they have reduced their car use, environmental reasons do not figure highly. For example, just under a third of drivers (28%) have opted to walk rather than use their cars at some point over the past 12 months but this was more likely to be due to personal (60%) or financial (19%) reasons than on environmental grounds (17%).


Alternatively fuelled vehicles

AFVs now have a total market share of 3.2% of new vehicle sales.

28% of drivers have opted to walk rather than use their cars ta some point over the past 12 months