King Review of Low-Carbon Cars issues analytical report

10 October 2007 – for immediate release

Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, has issued her interim analytical report as part of her independent Review of low-carbon cars. “Part I: the potential for CO2 reduction” sets out the environmental challenge for road transport and looks at the scope for emissions savings from more efficient vehicle technologies, cleaner fuels and smart consumer choices.

The King Review was launched by the Chancellor at Budget 2007, to examine the vehicle and fuel technologies which could help to decarbonise road transport, particularly cars, over the next 25 years. The Review is led by Professor Julia King, working with Sir Nicholas Stern.

The initial findings of the Review are that:

• Urgent progress is needed from road transport to help meet emission cuts for the developed world of 60-80 per cent by 2050 outlined in the Stern Review.

• At low cost and by 2030, per-kilometre emissions could be reduced by 50 per cent - equivalent to a 30 per cent reduction in the absolute level of emissions. These significant reductions in CO2 from road transport are achievable in the short term through progress on fuels, bringing new technologies to market and smart consumer choices such as buying a low-carbon vehicle.

• Almost complete de-carbonisation of road transport is a realistic long-term objective, through electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles. This will require major technological breakthroughs as well as substantial progress towards decarbonising the power sector.

• Fuels must be considered on the basis of their life-cycle CO2 emissions. Biofuels can occupy a segment of the UK fuel market but care must be taken not to expand demand too quickly, before crop breakthroughs and robust environmental safeguards are in place.

Professor Julia King said:

‘Within ten years we could be driving equivalent cars to those we choose today, but emitting 30 per cent less CO2 per kilometre. The technology is available. The urgent challenge for the short term is to develop a strong and rapidly growing market for low emissions cars.’

The next stage of the Review will develop recommendations on how Government can play a role in decarbonising transport, reporting in early 2008.


Media enquiries should be addressed to the Treasury Press Office on 020 7270 5238.

Notes for Editors

1. The report, including an executive summary, is available on the King Review website (http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/king).

2. Professor Julia King CBE FREng is Vice Chancellor of Aston University and former Director of Advanced Engineering at Rolls-Royce plc. She is working with Sir Nicholas Stern, who published the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change in October 2006.

3. The King Review is examining the vehicle and fuel technologies that could help “decarbonise” road transport, particularly cars. The full terms of reference can be found on the King Review website (http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/king).

4. The Review is considering the existing evidence on technologies to reduce the carbon emissions from vehicles and examining whether, over a 25 year time frame, decarbonisation may be most cost effectively delivered through incremental evolution of existing technologies, through growing competing niches or via more radical transformational approaches.

5. Non-media enquiries should be addressed to the Treasury Correspondence and Enquiry Unit on 020 7270 4558, or by e-mail to public.enquiries@hm-treasury.gov.uk

6. This press release and other Treasury publications and information are available on the Treasury website. If you would like Treasury press releases to be sent to you automatically by e-mail you can subscribe to this service from the press release site on the website.

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