Freight vehicles are fuelling an increase in oil consumption on Scarborough roads, new data reveals.
Environmental campaign groups have called on the Government to move the deadline banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars forward a decade to 2030.
New Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy figures show that road transport in Scarborough consumed 45,287 tonnes of oil in 2017 – 4% more than five years earlier.
Commercial transport accounted for 27% of oil consumption in the area.
Its demand for petrol and diesel rose 17% to 12,383 tonnes in 2017.
Personal transport, such as buses, cars or motorbikes, still amounted to the biggest proportion of the oil used, though it required 1% fewer tonnes of fuel compared to 2012.
Poor air quality is the “biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK” and is thought to be linked to about 40,000 premature deaths a year, according to a government report.
To tackle the issue, the Government has set 2040 as a deadline for banning the sale of diesel and petrol cars, making all new vehicles effectively net zero emission.
While air pollution has been mostly falling, nitrogen oxides – which form part of the discharge from car exhausts - regularly breach safe levels in many cities.
Nationally, diesel vehicles produce the overwhelming majority of nitrogen oxide gases coming from roadside sources.
Diesel vehicles accounted for 64% of the oil consumed by transport in Scarborough in 2017 – requiring 17% more fuel than five years earlier.
The environmental organisation Greenpeace called upon the Government to move forward the ban deadline for diesel and petrol cars to 2030.
Areeba Hamid, Climate Campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “Road transport has been a particularly disappointing sector in terms of de-carbonisation.
“Despite the climate emergency, and impressive advances in electric vehicle technology, car manufacturers are still putting more effort into designing, building and promoting petrol and diesel vehicles, particularly the heavier, dirtier 4x4 models with bigger profit margins.
“Meanwhile the UK government has set a 2040 date for phasing these vehicles out, 10 to 15 years later than the governments showing real leadership on this issue.”
Across the UK, road transport consumed nearly 38 million tonnes of oil in 2017, 2% more than five years earlier.
Freight transport accounted for a third of the gasoline and diesel used on roads, but its demand increased by 14% over the time period.
However, the amount of oil used by personal transport fell by 3%.
Mike Childs, Head of Science at Friends of the Earth said: “Freight companies that shift goods around the UK need to play their part in addressing the climate emergency.”