top of page

UK’s high mileage drivers key to accelerating net zero goals shows report

A recent study by transport research organisation New AutoMotive has revealed a significant environmental impact of high mileage drivers in the UK, suggesting a potential acceleration towards net zero targets if this group switches to electric vehicles (EVs).

The report highlights that the top quarter of high mileage drivers in the UK are responsible for over half of the country’s car emissions. This group not only accounts for more than half of all miles driven but also bears the majority of motoring costs.

The data points to a particularly impactful subset within this group: the top 10% of highest mileage drivers. This segment alone contributes to 28% of miles, costs, and emissions. The report underscores that if these drivers were to adopt EVs, they could save annually the equivalent amount of oil that the UK expects to extract from new North Sea licences.

In terms of consumption, petrol and diesel cars in 2019, the latest year with comprehensive data, used 26.6 million tonnes of oil. This usage translated into an annual pump value exceeding £40 billion, of which more than £28 billion was lost as heat.

The transition to EVs presents a stark contrast in efficiency and environmental impact. The report estimates that electrified travel could reduce these costs by over 80%, potentially saving an average high mileage driver around £1,000 per year.

To facilitate this transition, various initiatives are being suggested. A proposed ‘feebate’ scheme would penalize buyers of high-polluting cars while rewarding those who choose less polluting options. Other measures include information campaigns, social leasing, and scrappage schemes. These are designed to ensure that EVs effectively replace the mileage of the petrol or diesel cars they replace, thus contributing to a reduction in overall emissions.

The findings of this report illuminate the significant role that high mileage drivers play in the UK's automotive emissions and the potential benefits of their switch to electric vehicles in the pursuit of the country's net zero objectives.

Ben Nelmes, CEO of New AutoMotive, said: “High mileage cars are the low hanging fruit of the UK’s transition to net zero. The cars that pollute the most are those that spend the most time on the road, and they need to be switched for electric cars if we want to see quick results of the EV transition. These drivers are bearing the brunt of fluctuating fuel prices and they produce the most emissions. 


“Supporting the switch to electric amongst higher mileage drivers would put money back into the hands of those most affected by high fuel prices and help free the UK from expensive imported oil.”


Subscribe to our newsletter. Receive all the latest news

Thanks for subscribing!

thumbnail_phonto (1).jpg
bottom of page