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DfT data shows commercial goods vehicles are on average 1 year older than in 2018

Figures released this month by the Department of Transport (DfT) show that vehicles on the UK’s roads are on average older than 5 years ago. This includes commercial goods vehicles.

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The figures, contained in the latest vehicle licensing statistics document on the UK Government’s official website, show that the average of light goods vehicles with a licence to drive on UK roads last year was 9, while for HGVs, the equivalent figure was 8. This marks an increase in average of 1 year compared to the figures from 2018.

The increase in the average age of HGVs and light goods vehicles on Britain’s roads comes despite an uptake in zero-emission commercial goods vehicle registrations.

According to the DfT, there were almost 22,000 zero emission light goods vehicles (LGVs) registered for the first time in 2023, an increase of 63% compared to 2022. Zero emission LGVs accounted for around 6% of all new registrations, roughly the same as in 2022.

Meanwhile, there were 295 zero-emission HGVs registered in 2023, which represented 0.6% of all HGVs registered. Although obviously a small percentage, it is double that of 2022.

As for the total number of licensed vehicles, last year, there were 4.7 million light goods vehicles, 1.4% of which were zero-emission. In the case of HGVs, there were 535,000, with 0.2% of those being zero-emission.

Biofuel supply

Statistics regarding the amount of new commercial goods vehicles that run on biofuel were not included in the aforementioned update.

However, in a separate data release, the DfT did publish information about the supply levels of various different biofuels across the country.

This can provide a picture as to what biofuels are in supply and thus available to fleets.

According to the DfT data, the biofuels with the greatest supply volume in 2023 were Biodiesel ME and Biodiesel ME, which both made up 3% of the total amount of the UK’s fuel supply. HVO was next on 1%, while renewable fuels as a whole made up 8% of the total.

SMNT figures

Meanwhile, more recent data on HGV registrations has been made public by The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The figures show that heavy goods vehicle (HGV) registrations fell for the first time in two years, with a 3.9% decline in Q1 2024.

When it comes to zero-emission vehicles, SMMT states that EV uptake reached 0.5% of overall registrations, up from 0.3% in the same quarter last year.

SMMT nonetheless warns that growth is limited due to a lack of operator confidence. This, SMMT argues, is not helped by the grant system which is described bySMMT as “extraordinarily lengthy and which means that fewer than half of all ZEV models available are currently eligible”.

Another problem highlighted by SMMT is the lack of dedicated HGV charging points in the UK, which has just one truck-specific charging point at the M61 southbound service station.

Commenting on the Q1 2024 SMMT vehicle registration figures, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said:

“The truck sector currently stands steady, with just a small decline in uptake compared with a very strong quarter last year. Following two solid years of market growth, however, more action is needed to sustain green fleet renewal to decarbonise UK road transport. Zero emission truck uptake remains a fractional part of the market but, with just over a decade until the first phase of the end of sale of fossil fuel HGVs, operators need inspirational incentives and infrastructure provision to accelerate their investments.”