The Government is being urged to bring in a scrappage scheme to encourage people to move from old to newer, cleaner - but not new - cars.
It is claimed to be the "only way" to move towards a 'blended' lowering of emissions by using EVs and internal combustion engines (ICEs).
The call was made by Denis Murphy, of the Irish Car Carbon Reduction Alliance (ICCRA), in an interview with 'Motors'. ICCRA represents a majority of new-car dealers. Mr Murphy said the best way to cut emissions is to incentivise replacement of older cars with newer, efficient models. He said such a scrappage scheme is "badly needed".
He blamed the Government for causing "confusion" with its blanket approach to getting emissions down. Instead of sticking to the impossible target of a million EVs and the outright ban on new diesel and petrols from 2030, it should be directing a blend of power sources towards that target. Mr Murphy claims technological innovations could bring petrol and diesel-engined cars close to zero emissions by 2030. He said Government policy is "counter productive".
He spoke as a new survey, for ICCRA, found:
* 53pc of motorists are confused about what car options they should consider in the countdown to 2030.
* 86pc don't know their own car's CO2 emissions.
* 82pc of over-25s believe the plan to ban new ICE cars by 2030 is not possible, while 42pc say such a ban would definitely, or quite likely, stop them from buying one in the next five years.
* Key concerns about EVs include cost (74pc) and lack of charging infrastructure (70pc).
The findings coincide with the launch of ICCRA's new E-Way 2040 campaign. Central to it is a website explaining the various engine options and how people can start their "journey to zero carbon emissions". The study found 62pc would consider buying an ICE car if shown it was more environmentally friendly. More than half (56pc) are not willing to pay a premium to go electric.
Mr Murphy said research showed "electric vehicles will not be the answer for the overwhelming majority of Irish consumers for many years to come".
There are only around 8,500 EVs on our roads (less than 1pc of the 850,000 target by 2030).