Low carbon cars and higher taxes for gas guzzlers were both on the agenda for Alistair Darling this week. The proposals were outlined in his pre-budget statement on October 9.The chancellor unveiled proposals from a review by Julia King, Rolls-Royce’s former director of advanced engineering, and environmental expert Sir Nicholas Stern.

Darling said the country’s battle against climate change needed to go up a gear, with a major drive to get people buying a new generation of low carbon cars.

According to the review, carbon emissions from cars could be slashed by 30% in a decade using existing technology.

Experts added that it would be possible for the UK to cut emissions by up to 80% - or even achieve “almost complete decarbonisation of road transport” - by 2050.

And while the report said biofuels should play a role, it cautioned against relying on them too heavily.

Instead, electric vehicles powered by green sources were seen as preferable.

It also warned that bringing in more efficient cars was likely to make new cars £1,000-£1,500 more expensive but that this could be the standard within a decade.

Meanwhile, road tax on gas guzzling vehicles will rise from £300 to £400 next year.