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Petrol and diesel cars ranked as ‘more green’ than hybrid vehicles

Some petrol and diesel vehicles could be a better choice than hybrid vehicles based on their environmental benefits, new research has shown.

Data from Green NCAP, specialists in the environmental grading of vehicles, ranks cars based on how clean they are to run.


Vehicles are ranked on their clean air ability, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions and given a final average score.

Unsurprisingly, electric vehicles top the list with the Tesla Model S, BYD Atto 3 and ORA Funky Cat receiving an average score of 97 per cent and an overall rating of five stars.

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In total, seven vehicles have a five-star rating, with all of them being electric. The same seven vehicles all have an average score above 90 per cent.

While there is a steep drop in the ranking of vehicles based on their engine, a number of petrol and diesel vehicles are ranked higher than hybrid vehicles.

The highest-ranked non-electric vehicle in the 2023 table is the diesel Vauxhall Mokka with a 57 per cent average score and three-star rating.

Despite it being a diesel vehicle, it was awarded a 6.5 rating for clean air, 5.8 rating for energy efficiency and 4.8 for greenhouse gas emissions.

Two other internal combustion engine vehicles appear before a hybrid in the rankings, namely the diesel BMW 2 Series Coupe and the petrol Skoda Kamiq.

The first hybrid vehicle that appears on the list is the Renault Austral E-Tech full hybrid which received a 52 per cent overall score.

Some experts have called for manufacturers to be more open about the emissions output of hybrid vehicles as many continue to accelerate the switch to electric cars.

Given that hybrid vehicles have a petrol tank and electric battery, the cars are far heavier than traditional petrol and diesel cars.

Because of this, there is the potential for greater tyre wear, with the heavier vehicle pushing the tyre against the road at a harsher rate.

Data from Emissions Analytics found that particulate matter (PM) from tyre wear can be up to 1,000 times higher than car exhaust emissions.

Two vehicles on the Green NCAP ranking have a one-star rating, with an average score of below 20 per cent.

The petrol-powered Ford Range Raptor received a record-low 11 per cent average score, with the 4×4 receiving a zero rating for energy efficiency and greenhouse gas.

Hybrids are still seen as the go-between for drivers who are not yet ready to commit to an electric vehicle but still want to lessen their reliance on petrol and diesel.

The latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found that the number of hybrid electric vehicles grew by 24.6 per cent to reach almost 20,000 units.

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The Ford Ranger Raptor received a zero rating for emissions

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Plug-in hybrid vehicles recorded the highest proportional growth in October, rising by 60.5 per cent to 14,285 registrations.

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