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One in five drivers ready to go green

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Nearly a quarter (22%) of motorists say they will make the switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle for their next car, according to new research.

The AA-Populus poll of more than 20,000 drivers suggests there will be a dramatic increase from the 2% of drivers who currently drive a green car.

The positive outlook for alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) is in stark contrast with that for diesel – the research finds that fewer than one in eight (12%) drivers are intending to choose diesel, when the time comes to purchase a new car.

Confusing government policy (56%) and contrasting stories reported in the media (58%) have put buyers off seeking out diesels as their next car.

Tax increases for the majority of diesel drivers and a contrasting narrative that newer diesel technology is cleaner than other fuel types has added to this confusion.

The need for clarity is cemented even further as a quarter of drivers (24%) mistakenly believe that new diesel cars are as harmful to the environment as older ones. As a result of this misconception, there has been a 45% decrease in people searching for used diesel cars on the AA Cars site over the last five years.

Charging a Renault Zoe

“The appetite for electric and hybrid vehicles has increased significantly over the last few years, which is in no small part due to big technological leaps forward in the space,” said James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars.

“These advances mean vehicles can travel further on a single charge, charge points are an increasingly common sight across the country (currently over 18,000, being added to at a rate of about 800 per month) and manufacturers are designing more attractive models all the time. These are all contributing to the warming public opinion of environmentally friendly cars.

“The government has been keeping an eye on this increasing take-up and is now withdrawing grants for plug-in hybrids and reducing existing grants for pure electric vehicles. The implication is that mounting enthusiasm for non-traditionally fuelled cars won’t be dampened by removing financial incentives from the government.

“The outlook for diesel cars appears less positive though as our research reflects a mixture of misconception and uncertainty among traditional diesel drivers. As it stands, the used car market is following a similar trajectory to the new car market, with an uplift in searches for used green vehicles and a decrease in searches for diesel cars.

“Drivers are clearly crying out for a sense of clarity on diesel cars. A fair voice would help to demonstrate that modern diesels can be clean and fuel-efficient but also bolster the place of green vehicles in the car industry – this isn’t a zero-sum game.”

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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