Diesel vehicles showing a continuous decline, CSO data show.
Electric and plug-in hybrid cars continue to grow in popularity in the first five months of the year, new figures from the Central Statistics Office showed, with diesel vehicles suffering a consistent decline.
More than a fifth of new cars licensed for the first time in the first five months of 2022 were electric or plug-in hybrid models, while the fraction of diesel vehicles fell to 26%, from 37% in the same period last year. Year on year, the number of new electric cars licensed rose more than twice in the five months to the end of last month.
In May, a total of 1,095 new and used electric vehicles were licensed for the first time in the State; that competed with 691 in May last year. Diesel vehicles’ registrations dropped to 3,422 in May from more than 6,250 a year ago, while petrol cars were largely flat at 3,973 this year and 4,098 in the previous year.
The shifting dynamics in car sales come as fuel prices continue to rise, currently standing at more than €2 each litre for both diesel and petrol.
But the general number of new cars licensed for the first time in May dropped by 3% year on year, while the number of private used cars decreased by more than a third from May last year, and more than 43% in the first five months of 2022.
The number of imported diesel cars has declined suddenly over the early part of the year, dropping from just over twenty thousand in the same period last year to 7,300 this year.
Statistician Nele van der Wielen stated:
“Today’s figures from the CSO show the continued growth in the number of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles licensed in Ireland. The number of new electric cars licensed has more than doubled from 3,678 in the first five months of 2021 to 7,825 in 2022. At the same time the number of new diesel cars is decreasing. For the first five months of 2022, 15,419 new cars licensed were diesel cars compared with 20,032 in the same period in 2021.”
Toyota was the most sought-after brand of new cars last month, followed by Volkswagen, Hyundai, Skoda, and BMW, with the combined total of the five cars making up more than half of the new cars licensed for the first time during the month.
The car industry has been shattered by several factors, including Covid, the chip shortage – which obstructed new car sales – and Brexit, the last of which has made importing vehicles from the UK costly and less attractive for potential car buyers.