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Uncertainty for motorists and manufacturers as PM Sunak casts doubt on 2030 petrol and diesel ban

By Tom Gibson | July 25, 2023

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Under current plans, the sale of new cars powered only by petrol or diesel will be banned from 2030

Uncertainty for motorists and manufacturers as PM Sunak casts doubt on 2030 petrol and diesel ban

Electric cars have had a tough start to life here in the UK. Infrastructure has lagged behind where it’s needed to be, poor management of public charging stations means EV owners have to download numerous apps to access them and more recently incentives to make the cars more affordable were removed.

And now PM Rishi Sunak has cast doubt on whether the ban on the sale of cars powered only by petrol or diesel that is due to come in in 2030 will actually go ahead – although whether it ends up being his decision to make is another question given our next elections are just two years away.

In two interviews this month, the Prime Minister declined to say the ban would go ahead in 2030 and foreign minister, Andrew Mitchell, also refused to commit to the ban as the party comes under pressure to relax the ruling from some of its own MPs.

Although Downing Street have played down suggestions that the ban won’t go ahead saying no changes are currently under consideration.

The speculation about a change in policy was fuelled by Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion policy that stopped Labour from winning the Uxbridge by-election after voters vented their anger at the Mayor of London.

Last week, during an interview with ITV news, Sunak was asked to confirm if the 2030 ban would be going ahead and on the 2050 net zero target. His response to the question only focussed on the latter point.

Mr Sunak said: “Of course net zero is important to me. So yes, we’re going to keep making progress towards our net zero ambitions and we’re also going to strengthen our energy security.

“I think the events over the last year or two have demonstrated the importance of investing more in home-grown energy, whether that’s more nuclear or offshore wind. I think that’s what people want to see and that’s what I’m going to deliver.”

The 2030 ban is only on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, meaning previously owned models can still be sold. New hybrid cars, part petrol and part electric, can be sold until 2035.

The EU’s ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars is from 2035, meaning that if the UK delayed by five years it would still be moving as quickly as our European neighbours.

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