Eco vehicle intentions

40% of British drivers intend to go green.

According to 1989 science fiction classic Back To The Future, by 2015 we should all have been going around in shiny flying cars that could be purchased at an affordable price by the average middle-class family.

Well, things didn’t exactly go as planned, uh? Flying cars aren’t really a thing (yet) and no one is expecting them to float in our skies anytime soon. Good news is, the focus has shifted and we’re getting closer to producing efficient and economically sustainable electric cars instead, which allow you to hit the road while staying green.

While still more expensive than petrol cars, electric and hybrid vehicles have become more affordable for the average Brit. If you pick the right car finance option, and considering you’ll save on fuel, it may be less expensive than you think. So, how many people are actually going to buy hybrid or electric cars, or ditch their personal vehicles altogether in the coming years?

British drivers’ intentions

We’ve asked Brits what type of vehicle they’re planning to get the next time they buy one. Petrol vehicles are still the most popular option, with almost two fifths (39%) of British drivers saying they’ll buy one next time they change theirs.

However, a substantial 40% of drivers are planning to “go green”, either by opting for an electric or hybrid motor, or by getting rid of their vehicle/not buying a new one for environmental reasons. An additional 9% said they won’t be getting a new vehicle because it’s too expensive.

At the end of 2018, there were over 200,000 electric and hybrid vehicles in the UK. If all our respondents stayed true to their intentions, that could become almost 15.5 million in the next few years.

Answer Percentage
Diesel 11.2%
Petrol 39.2%
Hybrid 20.8%
Electric 14.1%
Would not get another car/get rid for money reasons 9.4%
Would not get another car/get rid for environmental reasons 5.2%
N/A - I don't currently own a vehicle and don't plan on purchasing a vehicle 17.0%
Drivers making greener decisions (by choosing hybrids, electric vehicles or getting rid for environmental reasons) 40.2%

Gender intentions

When it comes to vehicles, women appear to be more traditional than men. 44% of female drivers plan to get a petrol car the next time they go car shopping, against only 34% of men. Male drivers are more inclined than female drivers to go green and choose a hybrid or electric motor, get rid of their vehicle or not get a new one for environmental reasons (48% vs 32%). Women are more cost-focussed with 11% of female drivers saying they will get rid of a vehicle or not buy another one for financial reasons. In comparison, 8% of male drivers said this would be their reasoning.

Answer Male Female
Diesel 10.3% 12.2%
Petrol 34.4% 44.2%
Hybrid 24.1% 17.5%
Electric 17.9% 10.2%
Would not get another car/get rid for money reasons 7.6% 11.3%
Would not get another car/get rid for environmental reasons 5.8% 4.6%
N/A - I don't currently own a vehicle and don't plan on purchasing a vehicle 13.1% 21.0%
Drivers making greener decisions (by choosing hybrids, electric vehicles or getting rid for environmental reasons) 47.8% 32.3%

Intentions of different ages

Unexpectedly, young drivers aren’t necessarily the most worried about the environmental impact of their vehicle. 58% of drivers over 55 are planning to “go green”, against only 38% of 18- to 24-year-olds. A fifth of (21%) drivers over 55 want to get rid of their vehicle or avoid buying a new one for environmental reasons.

Electric cars are most popular among 25- to 34-year-old drivers, with 16% saying they want to buy one next time. The generation of drivers which is least likely to take the green path is that of 35- to 44-year-olds (37%).

Age Drivers making greener decisions (by choosing hybrids, electric vehicles or getting rid for environmental reasons)
18-24 38.1%
25-34 43.4%
35-44 37.4%
45-54 41.6%
55+ 57.8%

Regional intentions (how many would chose a green alternative)

Which British region has the most environmentally friendly drivers? The North West tops the chart. Almost three fifths (59%) of local drivers here say they will be opting for a hybrid or an electric vehicle, or ditching their vehicles altogether for environmental reasons. London follows suit with 56%. The capital also has the highest percentage of drivers (23%) planning to buy an electric car in the foreseeable future. Chances are it has something to do with the congestion charge and the plans to expand the ultra-low emission zone to more areas of the city by 2021. Wales comes last, with only 32% of drivers currently planning to “go green”.

Region Percentage
East of England 32.1%
East Midlands 38.8%
London 55.6%
North East 42.2%
North West 58.7%
Northern Ireland 52.8%
Scotland 34.1%
South East 36.5%
South West 43.1%
Wales 31.7%
West Midlands 40.0%
Yorshire and the Humber 32.8%

“We all know the environmental benefits that hybrid and electric vehicles can bring, but various studies have suggested that the cost it takes to run them is decreasing as well. You would expect these costs to decrease further, and the congestion charge exemption in London is something that we may start to see more of in other cities.”

“So, if you’re interested in reducing your environmental footprint then it is certainly worth doing some research into these types of vehicles, or perhaps you might consider scrapping your motor altogether if you are well served by public transport.”

– Jon Ostler, UK CEO at

Methodology commissioned Onepoll on 2 September 2019 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+. A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.

Vehicle licensing statistics 2018: Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; Department for Transport (UK)

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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