Cartell: CO2 Up Again!


Vehicle history and data expert report today (1st December) on a rise in CO2 emissions in the Irish fleet. In 2021, Cartell looked at the state of CO2 emissions in the private transport sector for the first 10 months of the year and compared the results to the first ten months of the year for each year since 2003. In November the international GOP26 stressed the urgent need for Governments to introduce measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions including in the private transport sector. Unfortunately Cartell reports today the situation has deteriorated over the last 12 months and the gains which we noted were recorded in 2020 have not been consolidated in respect of our emission of CO2. In a development for Government there has been an upturn in the average CO2 emissions of new vehicles sold in Ireland: in 2021 average emissions increased recording a reading of 112g CO/km. This is a level equivalent to what was recorded in 2018 and far above the level of 105g CO/km that Cartell observed for the equivalent period last year. 

Graph 1: Average CO2   of new private vehicles bought in Ireland 2003-2021 for first ten months of the year in each case – Jan to October (Source: Cartell Carstat)

Table 1: Average CO2  of new private vehicles bought in Ireland 2003-2021 for  first ten months of the year in each case – Jan to October (Source: Cartell Carstat)


Why has there been an increase this year? considered the data further for each of the various vehicle price segments to see which segment is performing the best and which the worst. Surprisingly, the best segment, showing the lowest CO2 emissions, was the most expensive segment considered – vehicles over €60,000 in value. This segment brought in average emissions of just 90 CO/km down from 127 CO/km for the equivalent period last year. The worst performing segment for emissions were those vehicles at the other end of the scale – vehicles priced at €20,000 or less recorded a figure of 122 CO/km. The segment breakdown was as follows:

Table 2: Average CO2  of new private vehicles bought in Ireland 2003-2021 for  first ten months of the year in each case – Jan to October by price segment (Source: Cartell Carstat)

Price SegmentCO2
Less than €20k122
€20k to 30k117
€30k to 40k106
€40k to 60k114
Greater than €60k90

Jeff Aherne, Innovation Lead, says: “We are looking exclusively at new vehicles sold in Ireland and not at imported vehicles. It is unfortunate that the figures for CO/km in the private transport sector are increasing, just when we thought things had shifted in a favourable direction. The Government will have to seriously consider these results which show that it is the cheaper new cars which are doing the damage – CO/km for new cars priced less than €20,000 are the highest of any segment. The reason for this is pretty straightforward: Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles are bringing down the overall level of emissions in the more expensive segments. Until the price of these vehicle types reduces we face an uphill battle in bringing down fleet CO/km any further. At the other end of the market, these results show that those with cash to splurge on an expensive car are thinking about the environment: this is one good thing to come out of these findings.”


About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan is a senior and highly respected motoring journalist based in Ireland. He is a frequently heard voice on motoring, transport and mobility matters and has multiple credits on national television, national print media, national and local radio and other outlets. Michael Sheridan has been a Car of the Year Judge for more 20 years (& more recently a Van of the Year judge). Michael has produced and directed many international and national motoring TV programmes and documentaries both on cars and motorcycles - including four films on the iconic Route 66. Michael Sheridan is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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