UK car parc on road to recovery

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has found that the number of cars in use on UK roads in 2022 rose by 124,393 to 35,148,045.

The overall number of vehicles has risen to a record 40,723,974 units as supply shortages begin to ease and scrappage levels decline.

That number is made up of 615,570 trucks and 4,887,593 vans, up 1.9% and 1.7% respectively, with Britain’s HGV parc now at record levels.

Meanwhile, despite the overall increase in vehicles on the road, average car and van CO2 emissions have fallen by -1.6% – driven by the influx of new lower and zero emission models. One in 32 cars driving in Britain now comes with a plug, amounting to 1,089,241 vehicles.

Ownership of electric commercial vehicles has also risen, with vans up some 67.3% and buses and coaches increasing by 34.9%, while the number of zero emission trucks has almost trebled since last year – although they still account for fewer than one in 600 in use. As a result, Britain is benefiting from a growth in vehicle numbers without compromising on the environment.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “After two tough years, Britain is on the road to recovery with the first growth in car ownership since the pandemic – while vans and trucks also continue to deliver for business and society in ever greater numbers. Better still, we are driving Britain towards a net zero future with more than a million zero emission vehicles now on the road and cutting carbon. With exciting new technologies and models fuelling our appetite to get back behind the wheel, now is the time to commit to greater investment in infrastructure and incentives, to speed up a switch to carbon-free mobility that is accessible to all.”