New figures showing a rise in the sale of petrol vehicles highlight the urgent need to address motoring emissions, a leading fuel tech company said today.

Information from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed sales of petrol vehicles rose 14.6% year-on-year, accounting for 44.7% of all new cars sold in January.

By comparison, while sales of battery models climbed by a fifth, they still only accounted for 13.1% of all sales, down on the 16.6% they accounted for during 2022 as a whole.

The sale of the petrol and diesel cars will end in the UK by 2030 but, say experts at fuel tech company SulNOx Group Plc, their legacy will be around for years to come.

“These latest figures show that, far from people moving away from fossil fuels, sales of petrol cars are on the up,” said Nawaz Haq, Executive Director of SulNox Group.

“In the UK alone there are currently 41 million vehicles on the roads and less than 3% of those are EVs or plug-in hybrids.

“Recently we heard from Halfords that the average age of a car is now 8.7 years, about a year more than it was a decade ago. It is expected to pass the nine-year mark very soon and could creep above 10 years before the cost of living crisis eases.

“All of that means that internal combustion engine cars being bought today will still be on our roads long after the ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles has come into effect. That means, unless we act now, we will still be pumping our tonnes of harmful emissions that contribute to climate change and tonnes of harmful particulates that are a very real risk to health.

“Even if the world achieves its stated electric vehicle targets by 2030, the International Energy Agency calculates that additional saved CO2 emissions over this decade will be 235 million tons, which would reduce global temperatures by only 0.0001°C by 2100.”

SulNOx Group specialises in providing solutions towards the decarbonisation of liquid hydrocarbon fuels. It has developed fuel conditioners made from natural, biodegradable ingredients which reduce the production of harmful, environmentally damaging emissions and improve engine efficiency. The company says its technology could remove the equivalent of five million cars from the UK’s roads, and has submitted evidence to the Government to support those claims.

“People don’t like to talk about the future of petrol and diesel vehicles; it is an inconvenient truth. But the evidence is clear, vehicles powered by internal combustion engines aren’t going to disappear from our roads any time soon. It’s vital that, alongside investment in alternative fuels, governments and organisations look at how they can reduce the impact of burning fossil fuels. We can’t close our eyes and hope it goes away.”