By the year 2035, the UK government is looking to terminate the sales of petrol (gasoline) and diesel.
The phasing out plans announced on Tuesday (4 Feb) are subject to consultation, and it also covers hybrid vehicles. In a previous announcement, the timeline was set by 2040 by the UK authorities.
The UK’s transport secretary, Grant Shapps, remarked that the £1.5 billion (SGD$2.69 billion) initiative by the government to “make owning an electric vehicle as easy as possible” was bearing fruit being that a “fully electric car was sold every 15 minutes” last year.
“We want to go further than ever before…That’s why we are bringing forward our already ambitious target to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to tackle climate change and reduce emissions,” Mr Shapps said.
In practice, consumers will be left to choose between hydrogen and electric vehicles once the sale of petrol, diesel or hybrid cars or vans is ended.
Edmund King, the president of driving association the AA, elaborated in response to the query about the government’s new timeline “Drivers support measures to clean up air quality and reduce CO2 emissions but these stretched targets are incredibly challenging… We must question whether we will have a sufficient supply of a full cross section of zero emissions vehicles in less than fifteen years.”
Based on the new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, last year the battery electric vehicle registrations in the U.K. rose to 37,850. Compared to 15,510 in 2018, this recorded a 144 per cent rise.
For supporters of low and zero emission vehicles, this shift is encouraging but the market share for battery electric vehicles last year was merely 1.6 per cent, whereas hybrid electric vehicles as 4.2 per cent. On the flip side, diesel’s and petrol’s market shares were 25.2 per cent and 64.8 per cent respectively.
Many other countries aside from the UK are planning to cease the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles. Earlier in January, Denmark has proposed the ending of new petrol and diesel car sales in 2030 whereas the Irish government has made plans to illegalise the sale of “fossil fuel cars” also by 2030.
In response to Tuesday’s announcement, Mike Childs, the Head of Policy of Friends of the Earth, commented that the government was “right to accelerate the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars to curb air pollution and address the climate emergency, but the ban should start in 2030 — not 2035… A new 2035 target will still leave the U.K. in the slow-lane of the electric car revolution and meantime allow more greenhouse gases to spew into the atmosphere.”