Move forward 2035 petrol car ban to 2032, UK's chief advisors urge

Published 25 June 2020

The UK’s chief advisers on climate change are calling for the 2035 ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars to be brought forward to 2032 "at the latest", seizing the opportunity offered by the coronavirus pandemic to fast-track plans.

Banning the sale of petrol and diesel engined cars was originally set for 2040, but was brought forward to 2035 earlier this year. Controversially, the ban includes hybrids - meaning that manufacturers will only be able to sell electric or hydrogen vehicles in 15 years time (according to current plans).

However, in its annual report to parliament, The Committee on Climate Change has warned the UK is not making the progress it needs to drive down emissions quick enough.

Government advisers have said recovering from the economic shock of coronavirus and at the same time accelerating moves to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 is "absolutely necessary and entirely possible".

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The committee’s chairman, Lord Deben, said a green recovery was the only way out of the terrible situation of COVID-19 and the economic crisis, which would create jobs and prosperity – but the "window of opportunity is closing already".

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The Committee on Climate Change said the Government should also raise taxes on fossil fuels while oil prices are low because consumer impact would be lessened. The report found that carbon dioxide (CO2) output was about a third lower at the peak of the lockdown compared to normal.

This was driven by a dramatic fall in the number of journeys as an estimated half of all employees worked from home, as well as the grounding of almost all commercial aircraft and factory closures. But the recommendation to ban cars with combustion engines earlier will anger the automotive industry, which has been hit hard by the lockdown.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: "We need a long term and ambitious policy package that safeguards industry and jobs, allows people from all income groups and regions to adapt and benefit, and, crucially, does not undermine sales of today’s low-emission technologies, including popular hybrids."

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hissingsid    on 26 June 2020

As usual there are no proposals to restrict the real culprit which is air travel.
Aviation fuel continues to be untaxed because there is no prospect of international agreement to create a tax regime for it, and I don't see a future for electric airliners..

BrendanP    on 26 June 2020

The government could set an example by replacing all its fleet cars by electric vehicles. No need to wait until 2032, they could do it right now. Ban parking at Parliament & Whitehall for petrol & diesel cars. Stop paying MPs a mileage allowance for journeys made by fossil-fuelled modes of transport. Let's see ministers give up their gas-guzzling limos before lecturing the rest of us. When is Rees-Mogg going to get rid of his collection of Bentleys?

Engineer Andy    on 27 June 2020

What collection of Bentleys? And if they are there, if they aren't used very often, they aren't polluting much, are they.

Electric vehicles only don't pollute if the source of the electricity is from green sources, which is rare. I seriously doubt if JRM has a govt limo either. Most ministers who do have them for security reasons and so that they avoid getting stuck on public transport when they need to be on time at a meeting/event.

BrendanP    on 28 June 2020

If cars that aren't used very often don't pollute much, then that's an argument for not banning the sale of new petrol cars to those that don't drive many miles.

Whatever 'security reasons' exist for why ministers need cars doesn't explain why they have to have petrol or diesel cars rather than electric. As for getting stuck on public transport, doesn't that apply to everyone? Don't most people travelling on public transport have somewhere to go? Why is the time of ministers or senior civil servants so much more important than my time? Are the ruling class entitled to privileges that they want to deny to the rest of us?

StevieB59    on 29 June 2020

If cars that aren't used very often don't pollute much, then that's an argument for not banning the sale of new petrol cars to those that don't drive many miles.

Whatever 'security reasons' exist for why ministers need cars doesn't explain why they have to have petrol or diesel cars rather than electric. As for getting stuck on public transport, doesn't that apply to everyone? Don't most people travelling on public transport have somewhere to go? Why is the time of ministers or senior civil servants so much more important than my time? Are the ruling class entitled to privileges that they want to deny to the rest of us?

Nothing personal, but your comments come across as just so much jealousy.

4caster    on 29 June 2020

No-one's suggesting banning existing petrol and diesel cars from using roads, except in a few cities. Some will remain as historic memorabilia, whether they're Bentleys or Austin Rubies, just like we still have steam-hauled trains. They don't pollute much on account of their small numbers and limited use.

Electric and hydrogen-powered cars need to go hand-in-hand with renewable electricity, which is still not being developed fast enough. Small nuclear plant, tidal turbines and biogas are underdeveloped sources. Also every suitable rooftop should be covered in solar panels, especially factories, supermarkets, leisure centres, warehouses and government buildings. New homes should be energy-neutral. Existing homes should be better insulated and helped to become energy-efficient.

barrie crowther    on 30 June 2020

Solar panels on most South facing roofs is a good idea it would take many years to achieve this so the sooner we start the better. New factories her in the UK to make them would need to be built, as the Chinese are one step ahead in making 90% of solar panels. Automation would be the key ingredient to make them as cheap as chips.

Dave Sheffield    on 29 June 2020

Electricity from green sources? I don't think so, haven't you seen the great massive power stations pumping out their filth, from my house I can see the cooling towers all along the river Trent, and where do you charge your car where there is no where to erect a charging point near your house? Electric, no thank you.

jchinuk    on 30 June 2020

According OFGEN's figures, less than 3% of electricity was generated by coal/oil in Q4 2019, the bulk was gas (relatively clean), renewables and nuclear. In recent months April/May, no electricity was generated by coal at all in the UK.

Graham Saunders    on 30 June 2020

The 'filth' that issues from cooling towers is steam. You are perpetrating. the general ignorance of the media e.g. whenever the BBC does a woke item railing against power stations they invariably show pictures of steam from cooling towers so it is no wonder that the general public is duped by this message

   on 29 June 2020

Unfortunately this is a pointless discussion. The politicians have made a Headline grabbing decision without thinking the facts, & realities through.
In simple terms, any hybrid or full electric requires power, and this comes from the national grid. We in the UK do not produce anywhere near enough “clean or green” energy and I doubt we ever will. Thus we have to import energy, and it, too isn’t green. So we are simply pushing the Co2 problem to a different part of the world, whose net carbon footprint does not get smaller.

And, whilst we think about it, how much more energy will we need? Well, if we take an average car requires 60Kw to recharge overnight, and the national grid has a capacity of around 90Gigawatt, then the maths say that once 1/2 million electric cars are plugged in, the grid crashes....
And this is not bringing up many other detrimental issues to the green revolution:
The worlds supply of lithium for the batteries is less than 11 years.
How do we recycle or dispose of the toxic used batteries?
Why does an electric car cost so much, and deliver so little in driving mileage? This making it a potential liability and useless for long distance & any sort of delivery or haulage fleet.

Petrol and Diesel engines are reasonably efficient but should be made more so, (mpg and emissions improvements)until a sensible viable long term alternative is commercially available. Like H20, or Hydrogen or...

Let’s not jump on a bandwagon and over the environmental cliff until we have practical, affordable and beneficial options!

aethelwulf    on 29 June 2020

Politicians that made these crazy sweeping agreements knew that they would not have to face the economic realities of what they did, especially that git Brown. Imagine the UK in 2032 only being able to buy EVs? It will exclude millions of motorists from being able to travel to work ( or cost grounds as well as practicality) let alone for leisure. The economy will be ruined far more than by Corvid 19. Housing estates are being built in every county miles from public transport. Why, if they have to buy an electric car to travel on their long commutes? Who actually has a brain in government ( of any party)?
I must admit it is no one as they clamber to appease the climate changers. You will recall what appeasement achieved. The second world war. The countries that are ignoring this , China for instance, is still achieving economic success. Follow it rather than stifle our tomorrows for something that is not actually proven and will happen anyway as those countries ignoring it will pollute more than Europe ever did. We are suckers.

Brian rowe    on 29 June 2020

Why not push the sales of Hydrogen vehicles, instead of electric. Let us lease these vehicles perhaps the Government could use theirs brains and common sense.

4caster    on 29 June 2020

The choice between batteries and hydrogen should be available, and the market should decide which is better. But hydrogen is only an energy storage medium like a battery. It needs electric energy to create it from water.

Dorset123    on 29 June 2020

How do these people think most people are going to afford cars as electric cars are too expensive to buy new. The new Fiat 500 is almost £30000 they are having a laugh.

Phobie's Dad    on 29 June 2020

Writing as a confirmed petrolhead, I will be saddened to see the end of the internal combustion engine - the sound (or lack of sound) of an electric motor just isn’t the same.

However, we can’t ignore the evidence of climate change and while emissions from vehicles are not the only contributing factor, we have to do something on all fronts.

So let’s get some facts straight: Current electricity production in the UK has never been greener with electricity generation from fossil fuels having halved since 2010. Last year electricity produced from renewable sources was greater than that from fossil fuels for one third of the time.

So far this year, renewables have produced more electricity than fossil fuels. During the last two months no coal has been used for electricity generation (a new record) due, in part, to the prolonged sunny and often, windy weather using solar panels and wind turbines.

We’re not there yet but, at least in the UK, the electricity grid is getting greener.

A further point of discussion: Why aren’t vehicle manufacturers made to get together to produce EV’s with one standard, easily removable battery across all vehicles that could be exchanged in minutes for a fully charged one at the now defunct petrol stations? Wouldn’t this allay people’s fear of battery range and encourage take up of EV’s?

BrendanP    on 30 June 2020

Renewable energy generation is viable only because it feeds into a grid backed up by gas, nuclear, and coal-fired stations. As you have pointed out, there are odd times when wind and solar power generate lots of energy, but there are also times when solar and wind generate less than 2% of demand. Examples of this are during the winter when high pressure settles across the UK and we have clear skies, shorter daylight hours, freezing cold nights, and very light winds. This is when we rely on conventional fuels, even cranking up coal-fired stations to ensure people don't die of hypothermia. Continued expansion of wind energy capacity doesn't mean we can reduce our conventional generating capacity, it just means that capacity will spend more time on standby or inefficiently idling away. Who is going to pay to build and maintain the power stations that will be needed as our few remaining coal stations are closed, and the majority of our old nuclear stations are shut down? Who would foot the bill for constructing a new gas-fired station when there is little certainty about how much revenue it could earn? The answer is, probably no-one unless the government is prepared to bribe them with massive subsidies. Whilst the electricity grid is getting greener, it's also going to get a lot more expensive.

gogabz    on 29 June 2020

I don't understand why there is so little emphasis on hydrogen power. It is clearly virtually as convenient as petrol or diesel. It just needs more investment - or committment - to make it as affordable

barrie crowther    on 30 June 2020

At least with Hydrogen fueled cars breathing in our congested cities would save many lives instead of noxious C02!

focussed    6 days ago

Either you are not aware of what CO2 actually is, or you are promoting a green agenda here.

CO2 is not in any way noxious or poisonous. It's plant food gas.

Plants use the energy in sunlight to convert CO2 and water to sugar and oxygen. The plants use the sugar for food—food that we use, too, when we eat plants or animals that have eaten plants — and they release the oxygen into the atmosphere.

Without CO2 in the atmosphere we will die through lack of oxygen, if we don't starve first through lack of food from plants that are unable to grow.

Hydrogen as a fuel is widely applauded by the green faction, without acknowledging that it is expensive to produce, difficult to store in any quantity for use as a car fuel, and refuelling points are few and far between.

   on 30 June 2020

Those on the committee haven't got a clue! In not sure how ruining the UK car industry will help create jobs! Electric vehicles is not the answer! UK contributes about 1% of the world's emissions while China and India are the biggest polluters by far. We will ruin our economy for virtually no difference to the overall world output of emissions!

retired surveyor    on 30 June 2020

Where do people think the electricity is made? Only a small green amount is produced by wind etc. The rest is produced by oil and gas. You just change the place you make the pollution. Then the waste from batteries at the end of their life and the recycling has not been addressed yet. As usual not thought out and a lot of work, money, building and ways to recycle before we get the electric dream or it will become a nightmare.

jchinuk    on 30 June 2020

In Q4 2019 less than 3% of electricity was made from coal / oil, around a third was from (relatively clean) gas, 20% from solar / wind renewables, 15% from nuclear.

barrie crowther    on 30 June 2020

So true those statistics should be posted on every lamppost, bus shelter, and workplace!

jchinuk    on 30 June 2020

While I generally agree with the move to less polluting vehicles, I feel a distinction needs to be made between hybrids and 'plug-in hybrids'. A straight hybrid ultimately gets all it's energy from fossil fuels, either directly or via charging a battery. Even the charge during braking comes from the energy used to move the vehicle in the first place, that's O level Physics.

   on 30 June 2020

lots of people live in flats and or in terraced houses do not have off street parking, its a poor area..
ARE we to have electric leads hanging out of windows and across the pavement? When every house is using more than 7KW all together all night long can the local distribution cables take the load?
a new built battery car creates three times the pollution of maintaing an existing car on the road.
the heavier battery car's tyres create more particulate pollution than a new diesel
transmission losses in electrical generation is burning 25% 0f the energy on nothing.
batteries have to be replaced after seven years, huge pollution in manufacture
and all the poorer people who do not have charge access or extra money for the more expensive electric cars will sit down and not protest?
and wht do think they will tax when they lose all the fuel duty, perhaps electricity?
things need to be thought through.

TQ    5 days ago

Quite excuses, the sooner fossil fuel cars are removed the better. Of course this does not address the issue of polluting 'planes and sea-vessels but it is an incremental change in the right direction.

I look forward to the day when all cars are elec, lightweight, small and have various battery ranges depending on how they are used. I only need a battery to cover max 30 miles a day, another may need 300 the battery should be an option (just like current engine size).

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