As the government is officially moving forward with the diesel and petrol car ban, we're on hand with everything you need to know about the plan. 2020 was a defining year of climate action for the planet, the government brought forward its plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans to 2030 – it was previously 2035. So, what does that mean for drivers in the UK?
Reports found that transport is the UK's largest emitting sector, contributing to over 30 per cent of the national carbon emissions, with 19 per cent coming from road vehicles. As the government works towards the UK's 2050 net-zero target, the shift from petrol and diesel cars to electric cars is part of a 10-point plan to get there.
Speaking on the 10-point plan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future."
The initial diesel and petrol car ban was initially introduced under Theresa May, in 2017, with a 2040 deadline. After increased pressure from green groups and the government's Climate Change Committee, the policy date was moved forward to 2035, and more recently, to 2030.
As the ban on combustion-engine vehicles will begin in 2030, some hybrid cars and vans will continue to appear in showrooms until 2035. In a statement from The Department for Transport, they confirmed that hybrid vehicles with "the capability to drive a significant distance with zero emissions (e.g. plug-in hybrids or full hybrids)" will retail until 2035. They added that the specific details of these vehicles would be "defined through consultation". They also confirmed that hydrogen vehicles would also be allowed to be sold as they are zero-emission.
The Department for Transport is set to publish a green paper in 2021, which will set out the UK's post-EU regulations for CO2 emissions from new vehicles.
It's worth noting that the ban only applies to sales of new cars. The government is yet to reveal any plans to outlaw the use and resale of second-hand cars based on these specific criteria. To clarify, as of today, you can legally drive, sell and buy a second-hand petrol or diesel car after 2030.
When announcing the diesel and petrol car ban, the UK government also pledged a funding pot for electric vehicle innovation. As the news broke, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the public that the government would "invest more than £2.8 billion in electric vehicles, lacing the land with charging points and creating long-lasting batteries in UK gigafactories. This will allow us to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030" in a column for the Financial Times.
From the £2.8 billion pledged from the government, £1.3 billion will go towards the charging infrastructure across England. The government plans an accelerated roll-out of EV charging points in "homes, streets and on motorways." The pledge also includes £585 million in grants to buyers of zero or ultra-low emission vehicles, along with £500 million to aid the development of mass-sale EV battery production in the UK.
According to Autocar, a total of 108,205 electric vehicles were sold in the UK in 2020. This figure represents a 180% year-on-year increase, rising from 1.6% of all cars sold in the UK to 6.6%. As manufacturers rapidly roll out new EVs and more options are coming to the market, the public is willingly buying EVs years ahead of the diesel and petrol car ban. As several European countries have announced similar plans, the UK's is among the most ambitious, so we hope to see the number increase yearly.
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