What is it?
Potentially, the death of petrol and diesel as we know it.
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.
Does the ban exclude petrol and diesel entirely or will sales of low-emitting hybrids be allowed to continue?
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?
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?
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?
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.