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Is London a different taxi industry ecosystem when it comes to fuel used to power taxis in England?

Image credit: LEVC

According to latest Government statistics, a significant disparity in the fuel types powering taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) in London compared to the rest of England has emerged.

While 86% of taxis in England outside of London run on petrol or diesel, in the capital, this figure drops to 55% as of 31 March 2023. This difference can be attributed to London’s increasing adoption of range-extended electric taxis, a hybrid variant that made up 43% of the city’s taxi fleet at that point in time.

In contrast, these vehicles are rarely seen outside London. Additionally, London's fleet includes 1.2% battery electric taxis, double the 0.6% found elsewhere in England. This shift reflects Transport for London’s mandate, in place since January 2018, requiring all new taxis to be zero-emission capable.

Regional variations are also evident within England. For instance, the proportion of petrol or diesel taxis ranges from a high of 94% in the North East to a low of 80% in the East Midlands. These figures highlight the slower adoption of alternative fuel taxis outside London.

The picture is somewhat different for PHVs. Only 34% of London’s PHVs use petrol or diesel, compared to 66% in the rest of England. The capital boasts a higher percentage of hybrid electric PHVs at 52%, against 32% in other regions. The North East again stands out with 87% of PHVs powered by petrol or diesel, while Yorkshire and the Humber have a significantly lower figure at 45%, indicating a stronger preference for hybrids in these areas.

A look at trends over time reveals a growing preference for electric and hybrid vehicles. From 2020 to 2023, the proportion of battery electric taxis in London rose from 0.1% to 1.2%, a more rapid increase compared to 0.2% to 0.6% in England outside London. The adoption of hybrid taxis has also increased, doubling from 20% to 43% in London and from 6.2% to 13% elsewhere. As a result, the proportion of petrol and diesel taxis has been steadily declining, though the impact of fully electric taxis remains modest.

For PHVs, the adoption rate of battery electric vehicles is even more pronounced. In London, the share of electric PHVs surged from 1.3% in 2020 to 14% in 2023, while in the rest of England, it increased from 0.3% to 0.9%. Although the proportion of hybrid PHVs has slightly decreased in London, from a peak of 57% in 2021 to 52% in 2023, it has doubled outside the capital, from 16% to 32%.

The overall trend from 2020 to 2023 indicates a steady decline in petrol and diesel PHVs across England, driven by the rising numbers of hybrid and electric vehicles. London’s transition is spearheaded by electric PHVs, while the rest of England sees a stronger shift towards hybrids.

The movement towards greener taxis and PHVs highlights the evolving landscape of urban transport in the UK, with London leading the charge towards a more sustainable future.


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