The UK originally planned to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars internal combustion engine – ICE-powered vehicles – by 2040, before the DfT went further in March 2020 with the release of its Transport Decarbonisation Plan
. This proposed forbidding new ICE-powered vehicles from 2035.
However, today the deadline may be moved even closer, to 2030, as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that Government has revised its original target by 10 years, to 2030, as part of a wider package of green initiatives to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050.
The PM will now attempt to boost the market for electric cars in the UK as while they are rising, they still only make-up 8% of new vehicle registrations. However, hybrid cars are set to get a stay of execution, and sales of these electrified cars will go on till 2035.
Announcing the plan, the Government also promised:
- £1.3bn to accelerate the rollout of charge points for electric vehicles in homes, streets and on motorways across England
- £582m in grants for those buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles to make them cheaper to buy and incentivise more people to make the transition.
- Nearly £500m to be spent in the next four years for the development and mass-scale production of electric vehicle batteries.
One in four cars sold in the UK contains some form of hybrid technology and it’s not yet clear what kind of hybrids will be considered.
Any such move would lead to a £40 billion tax shortfall, which leaves the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, “very interested” in a national pricing scheme, but it’s unclear at this stage of how the charges would work.
Owners of petrol and diesel cars currently pay 57.95p in fuel duty for each litre of fuel they buy – a figure which has been frozen since March 2011.
The House of Commons Transport Committee opened a “national debate” on road pricing in October 2019 with options including a pay-as you-drive-tax, clean air zones, toll roads and workplace parking levies.The M6 in the West Midlands is the only major toll road operating in the UK today and charges £6.70 for cars and £12 for HGVs on weekdays.A similar national road pricing scheme, suggested in 2007, was later rejected after a petition against the plans reached 1.8 million signatures.
Vehicle Manufacturers argue that major funding for infrastructure is required to convince motorists to switch to EVs, which at present are more expensive than ICE-powered vehicles.
In response, the UK government will roll out some £500 million of funding for charging infrastructure from next year. The sum will help finance new grid connections to allow remote facilities such as highway petrol stations to install fast charging points.