The number of licensed vehicles in the UK with engine capacity of more than 2,000cc increased from 2.3 million in 1999 to 4.0 million in 2008, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed. The figures also showed that the number of licensed cars with engine capacity of less than 1,000cc has declined by 19 per cent over the same period.
Big is not always bad. The increase in cars with engine capacity of more than 2,000cc is not necessarily a reflection that more people have bought gas guzzlers as, for this category of car, CO2 emissions have decreased by approximately 20% over the period.
The figures also reflect the migration to diesel executive cars, from just 10% to 75% over the period. Diesel cars tend to have larger cubic capacity than their equivalent petrol model but are more fuel efficient. The two-liter car today is much cleaner, greener and safer than its decade-old predecessor.—AA president Edmund King
The figures, part of the latest social trends publication from ONS, show that transport and travel costs account for 16% of all household expenditure in Britain, little different from a decade ago.
Only 22% of households had no car in 2008 compared with as many as 86% in 1951. More than a quarter have two cars.