HC Deb 13 February 1990 vol 167 c167W
Mr. Chris Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what proportion of(a) new cars use unleaded fuel, (b) car owners have converted their cars to unleaded fuel and what proportion this is of cars that can be converted and (c) new cars have a catalytic converter, (d) new cars made in the United Kingdom have catalytic converters, (e) car owners have had a catalytic converter fitted; and what were the figures in 1988.

Mr. Atkins

Industry sources indicate that virtually all new cars can run on unleaded petrol without adjustment. Estimates are that about 20 per cent. of cars on the road were able to use unleaded petrol without adjustment at the end of 1989, against 10 per cent. at the end of 1988. An additional 50 per cent. could use unleaded with adjustment at the end of 1989, against 35 per cent. at the end of 1988. The current uptake of unleaded represent about 28 per cent. of the fuel market, and if the same proportion of the vehicle fleet uses unleaded fuel, and about 20 per cent. of that fleet can use unleaded without adjustment, up to 8 per cent. of the vehicle fleet may have been adjusted.

There were 186 new car models and two light van models on the market fitted with three-way catalysts, out of a total of about 1,000 models listed in the Department's "New Car Fuel Consumption" figures for October 1989. Of these, 24 models were known to be of British manufacture. We know of one model offered with a catalyst in 1988. There is no information available on the market share occupied by these models, but I understand that the industry proposes to collate these data for the future.

Tighter emission standards will take effect in 1992. The number of catalyst equipped cars on the market can be expected to increase rapidly during the next two years.

Information on the retrofitment of catalysts by individual motorists is not available.