The Global View

Alternative fuelled cars buck trend as rest of market plummets

Toyota PriusWhen Greenbang was still in her teens, she once took part in a debate in which Margaret Thatcher was decreed the best weapon against climate change, ever. The Prime Minister’s relentless stance forcing pit closures, it was argued, meant there was a vast swathe of CO2 not being released.

Whether the Thatcher argument is true or not Greenbang has found herself, a depressing number of years later, mulling over a similar question; is change motivated by a stick or a carrot.  She currently suspects the stick , especially if it is very large.

The reason for this cogitation and conclusion is the effect that the current price of fuel is appearing to have on car sales. Yes, rather basic economics really but a nice effect for those that, like Greenbang, want to see fewer high polluting cars on the roads.

As reported in the Scotland On Sunday, ‘soaring fuel prices have led to a big increase in the number of motorists opting for ‘green cars’ this year.’

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) are out. The figures, which track UK car sales for the January to April 2008 period show sales of hybrid and electric cars are up 14 per cent on the same period last year. Not bad, especially as the market as a whole has slumped by 23 per cent over the same period.

The 5,990 alternative fuel cars sold represents less than one per cent of the entire market.