Ministerial Motors: How eco-friendly are the cars of world leaders?

A new study from comparison and switching service Uswitch has assessed how sustainable the cars of some of the world’s most influential people really are.
Ministerial Motors: How eco-friendly are the cars of world leaders?
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In the light of Boris Johnson’s 'green plane' plans for travel to the Cop26 summit being questioned by environmentalists as an attempt at ‘greenwashing’, a new study by Uswitch has found that his car emits 86 percent more CO2e than the average UK driver. The Prime Minister’s State car emits a staggering 2,191Kg of CO2e a year, whilst a Ford Fiesta (the UK’s most purchased car) emits just 1,179Kg of CO2e per year.

The Uswitch finding is part of a study examining how green the cars of world leaders expected to attend the Cop26 summit later this year really are. Boris Johnson’s car ranked 12th in the study while President Joe Biden’s Cadillac One is the least eco-friendly car in the study, emitting 341g/km of CO2e.

Taking 42 famous world leaders, footballers and influencers, the Uswitch study analyses the CO2e levels of each star's vehicle and compares them against their country’s most popular model revealing which world leader, footballer or celebrity drives the most eco-friendly car. 

When it comes to taking action on decarbonising transport, Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway leads the way with sustainable road transport initiatives, despite her Mercedes guzzling 171g/km of CO2e. The country has overtaken its neighbour Sweden in the past year thanks to several sustainable initiatives including 14,302 electric charging points and a net-zero target of 2030.

Although Erna may be leading the way with sustainability for her country, the Prime Minister could save 171g/km of CO2e by switching her Mercedes S600L to the fully electric VW ID3 - the most popular car in Norway.

Other countries that ranked high for their sustainability initiatives were Sweden, led by King Carl Gustaf (scoring 100/110) and Italy, led by President Sergio Mattarella (scoring 95/110).  Both countries are among the few that have put congestion charges in place for city centre zones in order to reduce carbon emissions. However, both leaders could reduce their carbon emissions by a fifth (20 percent) if they switched their Volvo and BMW to their countries most bought model.

Ranking towards the bottom of the list was Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands with his Mercedes Benz S-Class.  The car emits 273 percent more CO2e than the Netherlands most bought car model - the Kia Niro - which emits just 88g/km of CO2e.

“Making more eco-friendly choices when it comes to purchasing vehicles will be on a lot of people’s minds as the UK moves towards its ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars in 2030” said Sarah Broomfield, energy expert at Uswitch.com. “With our index, we wanted to bring to light the impact that switching to an electric vehicle can have on the environment, and it’s great to see some of the world’s biggest names making that change already while encouraging others to do so in the process. So whether you’re on the hunt for your next new vehicle or you are considering swapping to an electric car before 2030, our research will highlight how much CO2e the most bought cars around the world will produce while also providing some more sustainable alternatives for people to consider”.

With 17 countries around the world having pledged to remove fossil fuel emissions from cars, reducing our carbon footprint is now more important than ever. 

Here is how the cars of the other world leaders, besides Boris Johnson, stack up (Uswitch)


For additional information:

Uswitch – How eco-friendly are the cars of the rich and famous?

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