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Sales of electric cars almost trebled from January to August this year compared to the same period last year.

Total numbers are still small compared to overall sales figures with just 2,758 electric cars bought compared to 48,291 diesel and 42,359 petrol models.

But the comparative figure was just 1,009 in the first eight months of last year so the trend is upwards.

Combined with sales of hybrids, which were up from 6,926 to 10,174, non-carbon emitting or low carbon cars have accounted for 12.5% of the new car market since the start of the year.

Sales figures, tracked by the Central Statistics Office, are based on the number of cars taxed for the road for the first time in Ireland so they include both new car sales and used imports. When used imports are included, electric and hybrid account for 10.6% of the market.

Read more here: Taoiseach and Tánaiste to retain diesel cars despite calls to switch

The government’s Climate Action Plan aims to have at least 800,000 electric cars on the road by 2030 and to ban the sale of new fossil fuel cars from that date.

Generous government grant schemes have helped drive sales of electric cars but they are expected to be curtailed next year as the number of buyers grows, with the possible introduction of scrappage scheme incentives instead.

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