A large majority of dealers, 81%, expect the diesel car market to shrink over the next 5 years, with 29% expecting a decline this year, according to a survey by Paragon Car Finance.

The survey of UK motor finance brokers found 19% also anticipated a fall in sales for petrol cars in 2017, as preference for alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) rises.

The latest sales figures from the SMMT show that AFVs once again increased market share. Of the brokers surveyed, Paragon found that 77% expected growth in electric vehicles, and 81% foresaw gains in market share for hybrids.

Paragon found that 52% expected decreased sales of petrol vehicles over the next five years, and 91% expected increased EV sales over the same period. Hybrid sales were expected to grow significantly over the next five years by 62%, and moderately by 29%.

Julian Rance, head of Paragon Car Finance, said: “Urban pollution has been making headlines, putting diesel vehicles firmly in the spotlight and the latest figures from our Headlight Survey reveal that the pace of change in the car market is expected to grow.”

Rance said that government policy interventions had driven movements towards AFVs, and expected further shifts as a result of this, and growing infrastructure,

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He added: “As the technology and infrastructure which supports such vehicles gets better, sales will further increase.”