Fewer people buying a new car this year means older cars are being kept on the road at a time when the Government wants them replaced by modern, greener versions.
The shock, sharp fall in new-car buying last month (down 17.3pc) and for the year so far (87,075, down 3.6pc) means fewer old, heavy polluting bangers are being taken out of the national fleet.
People get agitated when I mention “older polluters” and claim their old car is returning better mpg than many of today’s “green” models.
Be that as it may in individual cases, the fall in CO2 levels since 2000 shows newer cars are substantially lower emitters of harmful gases.
However, as there are fewer new cars being bought, the volume of older models is rising proportionately. That’s where government plans to lower CO2 come under strain.
You can’t clean up a car population of two million-plus – as has been planned – without substantial increases in new models. It simply is not happening. Thousands of buyers are putting off the decision to purchase because they are not sure what, or when, to buy.
And when they do know, they can’t get a car because of the perfect storms hitting supply.
In the longer term this is going to cost them. Regardless of the good price they might get for their trade-in due to high values, the cost of change will increase year by year.
Scarcity, talks of a recession accentuated by war in the Ukraine, and the reality of rising interest rates are all dampening purchase plans.
The question is: will people buy early next year or wait again until better economic conditions apply and register a real rise in purchasing? These are nervous times. There were high hopes for a buoyant July 2022 and look what happened.