SUVs and extra traffic cancelling out electric car gains in Britain Auditors say emissions down just 1% since 2011 and target of zero emissions by 2050 is a long way off Auditors says the government has contributed towards more than 140,000 car charge points. Photograph: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images Auditors says the government has contributed towards more than 140,000 car charge points. Photograph: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images Last modified on Thu 25 Feb 2021 23.37 EST Carbon emissions from passenger cars across Britain have fallen by just 1% since 2011, despite a steep rise in the sale of electric and hybrid vehicles, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office said the popularity of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and an increase in road traffic were among factors that have cancelled out expected reductions from low-emission car sales. Its report concludes that the government has a long way to go to achieve its target for almost all cars to emit no carbon by 2050. Ministers have announced plans to restrict the sale of new cars that are powered solely by petrol or diesel by 2030 in an effort to cut emissions from the 67.9m tonnes of CO2 equivalent emitted by cars in 2018 – nearly a fifth of the UK’s total emissions. From 2035, only zero-emission cars will be sold. In a 2013 strategy paper, the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) forecast that carbon emissions from cars would fall by 10 million tonnes between 2010 and 2020. Auditors examined data from the Department for Transport and found that average emissions from new cars fell by 13% between 2011 and 2016 but increased by 6% between 2016 and 2019. “The recent increase has been ascribed to several factors, which have cancelled out the reductions from ultra-low-emission cars. These include a rise in the sale of sports utility vehicles, increased road traffic and travel by car, and revised methods for estimating carbon emissions,” the report says. OZEV provides grants and subsidies to fund the installation of charge points, and spent £1bn on the plug-in car grant, which reduces the upfront purchase cost of qualifying cars. Auditors said the government had contributed towards more than 140,000 car charge points, but most of them were on private driveways. “OZEV informed the NAO that it initially focused on supporting people with off-street parking or with an ability to charge at work. It has not yet focused sufficiently on charge point availability for people who do not have a driveway,” the report says. Meg Hillier, the chair of the public accounts committee, expressed concern at the findings and said the government must help to make electric cars an affordable and practical option for most people. “The vast majority of charging points are for private off-street parking.https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/26/suvs-and-extra-traffic-cancelling-out-electric-car-gains-in-britain
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Mazda has kept its focus on mainstream buyers with vehicles like the Mazda CX-30, which starts at about $22,000 and was named as one of Consumer Reports’ Top Picks. “Mazda is the proof that you can make cars that are exciting, cars that are fun and still have cars that are reliable as well,” said Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports. Several other mainstream brands also made it into the top 10 of the magazine’s Brand Report Card, a separate list ranking the top 32 automotive brands: Subaru, Honda, Toyota, Chrysler and Buick. (See the full list below.) Bottom line: Improvements in reliability, safety and interior technologies have enabled mainstream vehicles to close the gap with luxury cars. “When it comes to the high-end vehicles, not only are you not getting anything more, sometimes you’re getting things you don’t want,” Fisher said. “You’re getting complexity, you’re getting more of these gizmos and gadgets and all these things that don’t actually make your driving experience better.” Of the 10 Top Picks for Consumer Reports in 2021, four were Toyota vehicles, reiterating the mainstream brand’s foothold on quality and satisfaction. “They do a lot right,” Fisher said. “They’re the tops when it comes to reliability for the long term. And they’re very generous when it comes to standard safety.” Consumer Reports also announced a new designation for 2021: Green Choice, a label given to vehicles that are among the top 20% of vehicles for lowest carbon emissions and environmental pollutants. “When it comes to the high-end vehicles, not only are you not getting anything more, sometimes you’re getting things you don’t want.” Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports. “We’re hearing more and more from consumers that this is something that’s really important to them,” Fisher said. Four of the Top Picks also earned the Green Choice moniker: the Toyota Prius, Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Toyota Camry and Tesla Model 3. It’s the 18th year the Prius has made the list, a record. Does Robinwood live up to its name? Critics say the investing app doesn't Here’s the full list of Top Picks for 2021. Toyota Corolla: The compact car’s strong fuel economy, standard safety equipment and high marks for reliability made it stand out. Mazda CX-30: This subcompact SUV is dependable, has strong safety equipment and boasts what Consumer Reports called “responsible handling and a firm ride.” Subaru Forester: This small SUV has made the list for eight straight years. The Forester has been a Top Pick for eight straight years. The Forester gets credit for its spacious interior, good fuel economy and popular four-wheel-drive system. Toyota Prius: While hybrid sales have been struggling for years amid low gas prices, the Prius remains a stalwart for buyers who care most about fuel economy and reliability. Toyota Camry: The best-selling passenger car in America is “a rock-solid choice” with excellent safety features, fuel economy and reliability, Consumer Reports says.https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2021/02/18/consumer-reports-2021-top-picks-new-cars-trucks-suvs/6763979002/