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Electric car sales are up… but don’t get too excited

UK car sales increased by 5.3 percent last month according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, who were keen to highlight the increase in alternative fuel vehicles (AFV):

“Demand for alternative fuel vehicles showed a notable increase of 21.5% in the month, as consumers continued to favour lower emission vehicles with lower running costs. Registrations of both diesel and petrol cars increased, meanwhile, with respective uplifts of 4.8% and 4.7%.”

Since only one AFV car in 2015 and two in 2016 would amount to a 100 percent increase, we need to take the 21.5 percent figure with a pinch of salt; particularly when the percentage is being used to suggest some kind of greening of the car market:

Car Registrations 2016

The sad truth is that we still measure AFVs in thousands of registrations while counting petrol and diesel vehicles in hundreds of thousands.

This may be just as well given that the UK’s lack of electricity generating capacity means that any large scale shift to electric vehicles would cause demand for electricity to far outstrip supply.  Indeed, one of the big climate change issues of our time is trying to decide what type of alternative vehicles we should be buying at a time where the infrastructure to operate them has yet to be built…

For what it is worth, I’m sticking to my bicycle!

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