One of the automotive industry's leading engineers has predicted that the most economical cars available by 2020 will produce fewer emissions than the cleanest electric trains of today.
Richard Parry-Jones, chairman-designate of Network Rail in the UK, told a London transport conference that the car industry is targeting tailpipe emissions of 40g/km of CO2 by the end of the decade. This would equate to just 25g/km per passenger if the average number of car occupants remains at 1.6, putting cars in the same category as the cleanest forms of public transport.
This is good news for drivers as it means the average fuel consumption of cars will be approximately 1.7L/100km for petrol vehicles and 1.5L/100km for diesels.
These improved emissions figures will be achieved through the continual take-up and advancement of hybrid and electric car technologies.
The most efficient petrol car currently on the market is the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which uses 2.1L/100km or 49g/km of CO2.