2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars to be announced

The UK’s 2040 deadline on fossil fuel cars is reported to be brought forward.

A ban on the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars in the UK – and even hybrids – is set to be brought forwards to 2030, according to reports. New plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) will remain on sale until 2035, but after that point pure electric vehicles, and any potential hydrogen cars that may exist, will be the only choices for new-car buyers. The Prime Minister is due to make the announcement this week, sources say.

A ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars was first announced by then-environment secretary, Michael Gove, in 2017. Back then, the date was set for 2040 and, after several clarifications, it emerged any new car with any kind of internal combustion engine would be banned from sale by that date.

The shifting sands of future policy saw a consultation launched earlier this year to investigate if a ban in “2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible” should be introduced, with hybrids now included in the proposed ban. The latest reports from Whitehall indicate that the “if feasible” aspects of that consultation are now considered feasible, with new conventional petrol and diesel cars set to be banned from 2030, and new PHEVs outlawed from 2035.

There are approximately 31.5 million cars on the road in the UK, based on 2018 data. Of these, 18.5 million run on petrol, and 12.4 million on diesel. Alternatively fuelled vehicles, such as hybrids and EVs, accounted for 620,000 of those cars in 2018. Last year’s sales figures saw 2.3 million cars sold. Of these, 6.3 per cent were pure EVs or plug-in hybrids.

Buyers are undoubtedly turning to alternatively fuelled cars in great numbers, with 12.1 per cent of new registrations being EVs and PHEVs in November 2020. Nonetheless, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders previously called an acceleration of the 2040 ban “extremely concerning”, adding that “with current demand for this still expensive technology still just a fraction of sales, it’s clear that accelerating an already very challenging ambition will take more than industry investment.”

Hugo Griffiths

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