Motorists keep old cars in bad economic times

Ben Southwood
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THE RECESSION has impacted motorists heavily, with slower growth in the number of cars on the road and an increased average car age, according to research out today.

Parc, a measure of the prevalence of cars on the road, rocketed up 17 per cent in the decade to 2001, but only nine per cent in the decade to 2011, says a new study by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The average age of a UK car rose by two months in the last year, while diesel’s market share hit a record 50.6 per cent in 2011, driven by costly fuel. Total parc crept up 0.3 per cent in the year to 2011, resting at 31.4m.

Meanwhile, efficiency advanced convincingly, with the average new car 20 per cent more economical than the average age car. And driven by tax incentives, there are now 120,000 vehicles on the road emitting less than 100g CO2 per km. Slough is the region with the lowest average emissions, at 149g per km.

The report also included data on the popularity of various colours of car: in 2002 21.5 per cent of cars on the road were red whereas in 2011 red cars made up just 11.5 per cent of the total. Conversely, silver cars were just 15.3 per cent of the total in 2002, but were the most popular in 2011 – a full 25.6 per cent of cars are this colour.