Shopping on the Internet may not be as environmentally friendly, if new figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders are anything to go by.
The growth in emissions from vans and lorries due to home deliveries has outweighed the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions due to the introduction of more efficient cars, the report said.
The total CO2 emitted by cars fell by 2.3 million tonnes, or 3.2 per cent, between 1997 and 2005, while emissions from vans rose by 3.3 million tonnes, or 24.4 per cent, and from lorries by 2.6 million tonnes, or 10 per cent, during the same period, the Times quoted the report as saying.
Online retailers have, however, said it is more efficient for one van to deliver to several addresses than for each household to travel by car to the shops.
According to the report, the number of vans on the road has increased by almost a third, or more than 730,000 in the past decade.
The total distance travelled by vans is also growing four times faster than the distance travelled by cars, it said.
The report further said while cars are subject to industry-wide targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and dealers have to display colour-coded labels in their showrooms indicating the environmental efficiency of the models on sale, there are no such targets or labelling systems for vans.