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Confusions surrounds ‘green’ number plates

Written by: Emma Lunn
The green number plate message is not black and white, according to one in three drivers.

A poll by the AA found that almost a third (31%) of drivers don’t know what green number plates represent, more than six months after their introduction.

Six in 10 (63%) correctly stated that the green slash on the numberplate indicated that this was a zero-emission vehicle. The new numberplates were introduced in December 2020.

Younger drivers were more likely to know what they were (74% of 18 to 24-year-olds) compared to the over-65s (58%). Drivers in Wales (59%) and Northern Ireland (54%) were least likely to give the correct answer, whilst those in London, perhaps due to the high density of electric vehicles, were most likely to get it right (66%).

Of the 6% who gave an incorrect answer the most popular misconceptions were:

  • 274 people said it denotes being allowed to park in green zones
  • 53 people thought the driver was an Irish National
  • 36 people said it meant the driver was a member of the Green Party
  • 35 people said it meant the driver voted Brexit

Edmund King, AA president, and owner of a green numberplate, said: “The fact that one third don’t know the meaning of a green numberplate didn’t really surprise me as a number of people either stare at my number plate or have asked me about the green plate.

“However, I think these plates will become a more common site as it is projected that electric vehicles will make up a quarter of new car sales in 2025. These plates indicate there is now a growing range of cars that are going electric and send out a message that this is becoming the new normal.

“To encourage a faster uptake, incentives must remain in place to reduce the purchase price of EVs and home chargers. Radical moves like cutting VAT on certain EV models would also speed the uptake.

“The AA is fully prepared as the number one breakdown provider for EV drivers with more trained patrols to work on EVs, an innovative towing solution that gets EVs quickly to a charging point and comprehensive EV insurance which covers cables.”

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