What is it?

Potentially, the death of petrol and diesel as we know it.

Man filling up car

From 2040, car manufacturers will be banned from selling any new cars or vans fuelled by diesel or petrol in the UK.


Because air quality within British towns and cities is only getting worse. The UK government feels enough is enough and it’s time to do something drastic to limit pollution levels.

So what am I meant to drive?

An electric or hybrid vehicle.


However even then, it isn’t exactly clear because hybrids use forecourt fuels too.

Volvo has already revealed it will only build electric and hybrid vehicles from 2019. Other car manufacturers may now feel obliged to mimic Volvo’s decision in light of the ban.

Failing that, there’s always hydrogen.

Check out our top five alternative-fuelled cars currently on sale

Does the ban exclude petrol and diesel entirely or will sales of low-emitting hybrids be allowed to continue?

Toyota Prius

Who knows. That’s a matter for the government to clear up.

The technology included in these hybrids is sure to improve and we can only imagine what kind of fuel economy and exhaust output they’ll be capable of by 2040.

What does that mean for my local BP/Esso/Texaco garage?

It’ll be fine for a while. Petrol and diesel cars will still be allowed to drive around on UK roads after 2040, so forecourts won’t be deserted overnight.

Who buys a plug-in car anyway?

Plug in hybrid

Quite a few people it seems.

Almost one in 20 new car sales in the UK in 2017 was a plug-in hybrid or fully electric car.

Sales of plug-in vehicles may still be in their infancy but the market is constantly growing.

2040 feels quite some way off.

Yep. Some feel the deadline is too far away and should be brought forward.

Hasn’t France banned petrol and diesel cars too?

Yes, the French have already announced identical measures with the aim of making the country’s road transport carbon neutral by 2050.

How has the industry reacted?

Ford Focus RS

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) – the organisation that collects data on Britain’s new car registrations – has warned that the automotive sector could be ‘undermined’ if the industry was not given enough time to adapt to the new policy.

He says that a lot rides on the cost of new hybrid and electric technologies and whether consumers were willing to adopt battery, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen cars.

So what should I do now?

Customer on forecourt

Keep calm. If you were due to collect the keys to a horsepower-heavy hot hatch soon, don’t be put off by this announcement.

Plenty can happen before 2040 and it’s worth stressing that the ban only affects new sales. Come 2041, the used car market will surely still be packed with petrol and diesel cars.

What do you think of the ban? Speak your mind in our comments section.

14 Responses

  1. George parkin

    And were are we supposed to get the electricity to power these cars the power stations are already overwhelmed in winter with just supplying HOUSES and work places this has not been thought through at all plus the mileage of the current electric cars is no where near what is needed hgv,s can do 500 miles a day or more it’s never going to work

  2. Rust

    We will have to ban lorries, trains and airplanes etc too if we want to make a real difference. Once the petrol and diesel tax is cut and the necessary increase in clean public transport will bankrupt this nation……. Even if this was a realistic plan how would we generate all the extra energy required to power these vehicles.
    I imagine that there will need to be a revolutionary new technology to make any real difference….. Yet again that nice Mr Gove speaks before he really looks at the problem at hand, I hope he lives close enough to walk to work, mind you by then this bunch of Cowboys will all be made redundant by the Electorate.

  3. E P Harding

    It will have to happen eventually and heavy transport, ships and planes will also have to conform. As far as heavy road transport is concerned there is a possibility that motorways and major roads could have a live electric rail like trains and users pay according to mileage. The railways would also need to be extended and used as an alternative. Also what about canals with electric barges? To keep the cities clean all heavy transport would have to download on the outskirts like ‘park and ride’. There smaller electric vans/trucks would continue delivery. The government, as always, has not thought this through very well. But what would you expect? Would you go to your local butcher to have a brain tumour removed? Parliament is made up of inexperienced little busy bodies who have no idea how to run a country. Most of them could not run a side stall at a church jumble sale.

  4. John

    I will be retiring to France in 2021.
    I will be taking my V8 Range Rover and V8 Supercharged Jag XKR with me.
    Woe betide any French authority who wants me to part with them!!

  5. Ray Pearson

    It just won’t happen ! Lorries, buses, aeroplanes, building and construction plant and machinery, generators and all the other applications where petrol and diesel is used for power makes this an impossible scenario unless, very unfairly, the poor old motorist is going to be the scapegoat again !
    Nice idea but totally unachievable, can you imagine lorries having to cut their load weight to accommodate the weight of the batteries they would have to carry and then stop every hundred miles or so to recharge, sorry but the country would grind to a halt much quicker than it is doing already.
    I am sure this is just scaremongering at the moment or an attempt to placate the green lobby, fear not future legislation will water this proposal down. it might be achievable at some time in the future but not by 2040 !

  6. David Knowles

    Absolutely ludicrous idea…..our little island will hardly be affected unless the whole world follows suit…..we do not have our own little pocket of air over the UK, we are subject to winds from around the globe and I cannot see bigger emerging nations taking the same steps.

    • Barry Austin

      I live in Southampton and the air comes from the Caribbean then up the English Channel and across the New Forest. Does the pollution come from whales and ponies passing wind? No it comes from unsequenced traffic lights which are set to stop you at every set. I have written to the Council’s health dept. Telling them about the damage pollution is doing to peoples lungs, hearts and brains, from actual studies, but they haven’t even replied. The really hilarious thing is that they were always bragging about their Romanse Computers traffic control that probably cost a fortune! In the 1960’s, traffic was flowed thro London without the help of computers. It all goes to show the Council don’t give a damn about killing off their residents, young or old!

  7. Gaz

    There is a technology that can convert sea water and the only
    emissions you get is oxygen,

  8. Andrew

    Time to seriously tax diseasel engine vehicles. It’s ridiculous how petrol
    engine vehicles are targeted and every year road tax rises.

  9. George parkin

    I have a Renault Clio 1.5 sci 68hp the advert said it had lower emissions than a Toyota prius hence the £30 a year road tax busses taxi and hgv,s must be the biggest polluters busses stood in bus stations with engines ticking over Evan though the signs say all drivers to turn off engines.

    • Steve Poole

      Don’t automatically blame trucks, which actually pollute less than cars, due to the lesser number of them on the road compared to cars. There are other modes of transport that also use oil/fuel. When was the last time you saw a Diesel powered Loco without it’s engine idling, when stopped during it’s working day. Then there’s Ships, Boats, Planes, Buses/Coaches, Generators etc. By the way, you wouldn’t even have a car if a truck hadn’t brought it originally. Not to mention food and drink. Be careful what you wish for over this, the politians will hitch their wagon to anything they think will keep them in politics. Lets have viable and affordable alternatives in place before the baby is chucked out with the bath water.


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