Petrol and diesel bans: What you need to know about UK car bans - MrLiambi's blog


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Monday, 11 April 2022

Petrol and diesel bans: What you need to know about UK car bans

The UK government has been considering banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles for a few years now. That is now going to happen in 2030, with a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, and a 2035 ban on hybrids.

This is part of the government's plan to tackle the issue of air pollution and the increasingly negative impact these vehicles are having on the environment and to reduce carbon emissions in a move away from fossil fuels.

Research by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air has suggested that pollution from fossil fuels leads to at least four million premature deaths per year. Vehicles are clearly partly to blame for this problem among others. 

The petrol and diesel ban is part of the plan to tackle this issue. Here's everything you need to know. 

Ban on new fossil fuel car sales

The government's plan to ban petrol and diesel cars centres around the sale of new vehicles that burn these fossil fuels. That means that new conventional cars and other vehicles will be banned from sale by 2030. The date was originally 2040, but confirmation of the 2030 UK date came in November 2020.

The move towards ultra-low emission vehicles has already begun in some ways, with special Ultra Low Emission Zones being rolled out in London in 2019. 

The policy will also ban hybrid vehicles. Hybrids are vehicles that get power from both a traditional combustion engine and a battery system. Those cars still have some fuel consumption and therefore emissions - even if at a lower level than traditional cars. They are included in the ban too so you won't be able to buy a new one once the rules come into force, although plug-in models have a slight reprieve until 2035 - so long as they offer a "significant" electric range.

The UK isn't the only country to ban petrol and diesel vehicles. Other countries are implementing plans as well:

  • Denmark banning new petrol and diesel cars by 2030
  • France banning new petrol and diesel cars by 2040
  • India banning non-electric cars by 2030
  • Ireland banning new petrol and diesel cars by 2030
  • The Netherlands banning all petrol and diesel cars by 2030 
  • Spain banning new internal combustion car sales by 2040
  • Sweden banning new petrol and diesel cars by 2030

The list continues to grow. 

What about second-hand cars?

The petrol and diesel ban is aimed at the sale of new cars. This doesn't mean you need to buy a new electric car by 2030 and ditch your current petrol vehicle before then.

It doesn't mean you can't sell your petrol or diesel car after that time. Nor does it mean owning one will become illegal. 

The plan is designed to stop vehicle manufacturers from producing more fossil fuel vehicles - meaning fewer on the roads and less pollution. 

Will there be any help to buy?

Obviously, not everyone will be in a position to buy a new electric or ultra-low emission vehicle by 2030. It was expected that the government would run a scrappage scheme to let you trade in your old combustion-engined vehicle in for a discount on a new electric car. However, that has since been ruled out.  

Some of the big car brands are offering scrappage schemes with generous discounts if you want to trade in your old car for a new electric car though, so that's worth looking at. 

The move to electric vehicles

These plans are designed to encourage car manufacturers to move towards making more electric vehicles. Many brands already offer all-electric vehicles and have been for a few years. 

Volvo, for example, is planning to get 50 per cent of its sales to be all-electric by 2025. Jaguar has confirmed it's going all electric from 2025.

A lot of things need to change between now and then, like the number of public electric charging stations and the availability to motorists on the roads. The UK government is investing millions of pounds in the charging infrastructure but it's clearly going to take some time.

The Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 was introduced to allow the government to have the power to require petrol stations, motorway service areas and more to introduce accessible charging points and that's slowly happening.

Zap-Map shows there are over 21,000 charging points in the UK at the time of writing and this will continue to grow between now and the ban coming into force. It is estimated that we'll need at least 25 million charging points by 2050 to keep up with future demand. 

How will the ban affect classic cars?

The petrol and diesel ban is aimed at the sale of new vehicles, so theoretically the ban won't impact classic cars in this way. 

However, there will no doubt be some knock-on effects. It's expected that the value of traditional combustion-engine cars will fall dramatically during and in the years that follow the ban. 

With more and more electric cars on the road, the number of traditional refuelling points will also start to decline. So if you own a classic car it might be more difficult to keep running. Higher taxes may well be implemented on fossil fuel to discourage use too - making it more costly to run a classic car as well. 

We already know low-emission zones are designed to penalise high-polluting vehicles, so this is another consideration. 

That said, with the rise of electric vehicles, there might also be a growing nostalgia for classic cars in the years that follow. 

Which electric car should you buy?

Although the ban on petrol cars isn't coming for a few years, there's no harm in getting involved early and buying an electric vehicle before then. 

Traditionally electric cars have been significantly more expensive than their combustion engine counterparts, but as technology has progressed costs have come down.

With more manufacturers switching to all-electric in the coming years, the prices should drop further. 

There are plenty of great electric vehicles available to buy currently, with some being comparable price-wise to their petrol-based alternatives. 

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