According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), carbon tailpipe emissions from new cars fell for the 19th consecutive year in 2016 to an all-time low. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) argues that a growth in vehicle leasing has helped to drive the reduction. Data shows new cars averaging emissions of 120.1g/km, beating levels seen in the year 2000 by 33.6% and the previous record by 1.1%. Meanwhile, average CO2 emissions from new vans dropped 1.9% to a new low of 173.7g/km, beating 2017's pan-European target of 175g/km in advance of the deadline. The SMMT attributes the decrease to billions of pounds invested in advanced battery, engine and fuel technology, in addition to a rise in the prevalence of lightweight aluminium and composites in vehicle materials. Also cited as critical to the reduction was the growth of alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) and diesel vehicle markets due to the fact diesel cars emit 20% less CO2 than petrol equivalents on average. Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: 'The automotive industry has some of the most challenging CO2 reduction targets of any sector and continues to deliver reductions as it has for nearly two decades. "For this positive trend to continue, modern low emission diesels and AFVs such as plug-ins, hydrogen and hybrids must be encouraged with long term incentives. "The UK has a successful track record in encouraging these new technologies but this must be maintained through a consistent approach to fiscal and other incentives.î Chief executive of the BVRLA, Gerry Keaney, has stated that growth in the popularity of vehicle leasing is partly responsible for this reduction in CO2 emissions. He said: 'More people are choosing to lease their cars, because it provides affordable access to a newer, cleaner, safer vehicle. "We are proud that BVRLA members are leading the way when it comes to reducing emissions _ the average leased car added to a member's fleet in 2016 emitted just 110.8g/km CO2, 7.7% less than the average new car sold in 2016. 'This trend of falling CO2 emissions could be about to end as the Government goes in search of greater tax revenues, particularly from company car drivers. "Policymakers need to recognise that motoring and business car taxation is more than just a revenue stream. It can provide a powerful incentive for people and businesses to choose low-emission cars. 'With poorly designed tax incentives, the Government could be putting the brakes on sales of low-emissions cars.î