UK Delays Petrol and Diesel Ban to 2035
In a Wednesday announcement, UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak said that the planned ban on new petrol and diesel cars would be extended to 2035, a shift from the earlier target of 2030. He also indicated that the resale of fossil-fuel based vehicles on the secondhand market would remain legal once the ban goes into effect.
“Even with the extended deadline, you can still buy and sell petrol and diesel cars secondhand,” said Sunak in his address. He argued that the previous goals for achieving net zero emissions by 2030 would have imposed “unacceptable costs on hard-pressed British families.” Instead, he advocated for a more “pragmatic, proportionate, and realistic” approach to reaching the UK’s net zero targets.
The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of consumer choice in transitioning to electric cars, rather than government mandates. He cited the upcoming gigafactory from Jaguar Land Rover and expressed confidence that due to declining costs and better charging infrastructure, most cars sold by 2030 would be electric.
Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders, voiced concerns that the delayed ban could cause consumer confusion. In a statement he said, “The automotive industry has and continues to invest billions in new electric vehicles as the decarbonisation of road transport is essential if net zero is to be delivered.”
“Government has played a key part in bringing some of that investment to the UK, and Britain can – and should – be a leader in zero emission mobility both as a manufacturer and market. To make this a reality, however, consumers must want to make the switch, which requires from Government a clear, consistent message, attractive incentives and charging infrastructure that gives confidence rather than anxiety. Confusion and uncertainty will only hold them back”
Ford’s UK Chair, Lisa Brankin, also criticized the government’s decision, arguing that it would jeopardize the auto industry’s ongoing efforts to adapt. he said “Three years ago the government announced the UK’s transition to electric new car and van sales from 2030. The auto industry is investing to meet that challenge.”
She added that, “This is the biggest industry transformation in over a century and the UK 2030 target is a vital catalyst to accelerate Ford into a cleaner future. Our business needs three things from the UK government: ambition, commitment and consistency. A relaxation of 2030 would undermine all three.”
Other nations like Norway, Sweden, and France have also set similar targets, with Norway aiming for a 2025 ban and France planning to implement a ban by 2040. Each country faces its unique set of challenges, such as infrastructural development and consumer adoption, in enforcing these bans.
Despite the rescheduling, the UK government remains committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, adopting what it describes as a “more pragmatic” approach.
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