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UK petrol and diesel ban should be ‘brought forward’ to 2032

MPs argue that government’s current plans are ‘vague and unambitious’

Banning petrol and diesel car sales in the UK should be brought forward to 2032, according to a new report by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee.

The committee’s new report states that the Government’s original 2040 target for zero emission cars is “vague and unambitious”. Instead, it wants the ban to be eight years earlier.

The report states that the greatest barrier to growing the UK’s EV market was the provision of charging points and a better funded electric infrastructure.

A quick point about that EV market: 119,821 alternatively fuelled vehicles were sold in the UK in 2017, though that figure includes hybrids. In comparison, 1.3m petrol cars were sold, along with just over 1m diesels.

Rachel Reeves MP, BEIS chair, said: “Electric vehicles are increasingly popular, and present exciting opportunities for the UK to develop an internationally competitive EV industry and reduce our carbon emissions. But, for all the rhetoric of the UK becoming a world leader in EVs, the reality is that the Government’s deeds do not match the ambitions of their words.

“The IPCC report was clear on the need to encourage changes in consumer behaviour, including increasing the switch to electric vehicles, to help decarbonise our economy. But the UK Government’s targets on zero-emissions vehicles are unambitious and vague, giving little clarity or incentive to industry or the consumer to invest in electric cars.

“If we are serious about being EV world leaders, the government must come forward with a target of new sales of cars and vans to be zero emission by 2032,” she added.

What does the Govt’s plan to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2040 mean?

The report comes following the Government’s scrapping of the plug-in car grant scheme only a few days ago – whereby the grant only benefits buyers of cars that can travel at least 70 miles on electric power alone, effectively cutting out PHEVs.

Indeed, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said of this decision: “Reducing the purchase incentives for zero emission cars by a third and completely removing the grant for plug-in hybrids is totally at odds with Government ambition to be the world leader in the take up of ultra-low emission vehicles announced in its Road to Zero Strategy.”

The BEIS report also noted how other countries “have already taken a substantial lead” in battery manufacturing, and that the UK needs to “better capitalise on industrial opportunities”.

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