UK to ban sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040

July 26, 2017
Britain plans to outlaw the sale of fossil fuel-powered vehicles from 2040

Britain said Wednesday it will outlaw the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040 in a bid to cut air pollution but environmental groups said the proposals did not go far enough.

Environment minister Michael Gove announced the move as part of the government's keenly-awaited £3 billion ($3.9 billion, 3.4 billion euro) air pollution plan, which will demand that councils propose measures by March next year to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels.

The ban on petrol and diesel cars as well as vans follows a similar proposal by the French government, and will also include hybrid vehicles that have an electric motor and a petrol or diesel engine.

"The Conservatives had a manifesto promise to ensure that by 2050 there would be no diesel or petrol vehicles on the road and today we're confirming that should mean no new diesel or petrol vehicles by 2040," Gove told BBC Radio 4.

Britain's High Court demanded that the government produce plans to tackle illegal NO2 pollution, largely caused by diesel emissions, and a draft report was published in May, but the full report was delayed by last month's snap general election.

The government will provide local councils with £255 million to bring NO2 levels to legal levels, with possible solutions including the removal of speed humps, reprogramming traffic lights and changing road layouts.

Campaigners want cities to impose entry fees on diesel drivers, but councils will only be allowed to do so if no other measures are available, with ministers wary of "punishing" drivers of cars who bought their vehicles in good faith, according to media reports.

Jobs warning

"Diesel drivers are not to blame and, to help them switch to cleaner vehicles, the government will consult on a targeted scrappage scheme, one of a number of measures to support motorists affected by local plans," a government spokesman said.

Gove added that he did not believe "that it is necessary to bring in charging."

Campaign group ClientEarth warned that health issues "caused by exposure to illegal air pollution are happening now, so we need urgent action."

Fellow campaigners Greenpeace also warned that the plans did not do enough to combat the immediate issue of NO2 pollution in cities

"While this plan makes the right headline-grabbing noises, in reality it means that children across the UK will continue to be exposed to harmful air pollution for years to come, with potentially irreversible impacts," said Areeba Hamid, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace UK.

"Providing a long term vision is not enough, (Michael) Gove still needs protect our health right now from toxic fumes polluting our streets."

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that the move could cost jobs.

"Currently demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles is growing but still at a very low level as consumer have concern over affordability, range and charging points," said SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes.

"Outright bans risk undermining the current market for new cars and our sector which supports over 800,000 jobs across the UK, we could undermine the UK's successful automotive sector if we don't allow enough time for the industry to adjust."

Air pollution contributes to the death of more than 40,000 people per year in Britain, according to official figures, with nitrogen dioxide a particular problem.

Norway, which is aiming to end the use of all cars running on fossil fuels by 2025, offers generous tax breaks for electric vehicles as well as free parking and the use of bus lanes.

Explore further: Britain publishes long-awaited air pollution plan

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23 comments

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dirk_bruere
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2017
A ban won't be needed. Most new vehicles will be electric within 10 years
ScottishScientist
1 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2017
Won't we need internal combustion engines for sustained high power vehicles, like heavy-duty lorries for the foreseeable future?

My understanding is fuel cells don't have the required specific power and batteries and capacitors don't have the required high specific energy - and combining the two - fuel cells and batteries - only gives the vehicle bursts of high specific power, not sustained high power.

So isn't the go-anywhere renewable energy solution involve imposing escalating carbon taxes to encourage the transition to the use of clean-burning (much lower or no particulates, although nitrogen dioxide remains) fuels such as hydrogen and dimethyl ether for those heavy duty power vehicles that really do need some kind of an internal combustion engine?

Perhaps there is a filter for nitrogen dioxide pollution from ICE vehicles that can be made compulsory?
antialias_physorg
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2017
A ban won't be needed. Most new vehicles will be electric within 10 years

A ban will hasten the issue, though. Think of roughly 10 years before the ban goes into effect. Since you know you won't be able to sell such a car there's already a big incentive not to buy one even before the deadline.

Won't we need internal combustion engines for sustained high power vehicles, like heavy-duty lorries for the foreseeable future?

The first electric lorries for full scale containers are already being built (for short distance)
https://en.wikipe...ic_truck
Until 2040 we can expect an increase in battery tech to make these viable even for the long stretches.
katesisco
1 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2017
Actually, the result of all this yak-yak is going to be consolidated ownership by the power elite of all energy producing plants. The gas cars will be 'taxed' to deter their ownership.
The article on wiki about Angola clearly shows that there will be no slacking off in the ownership and production of gas and oil, the huge CO cloud over this part of Africa is not poor farmers burning crop residue, it is gas flaring from off shore plants. We are not planning on leaving those riches in the ground in Afghanistan either. And the plan to create a new country out of north Syria, making us buddies with the brand new President, dictator for life, gun purchaser from the US, and pipeline carrier from Iraq is still ongoing.
Edenlegaia
3 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2017
A ban won't be needed. Most new vehicles will be electric within 10 years

A ban will hasten the issue, though. Think of roughly 10 years before the ban goes into effect. Since you know you won't be able to sell such a car there's already a big incentive not to buy one even before the deadline.


Hmyeah. I wouldn't be that optimistic. People will certainly be praised for buying EV's, and they'll probably be cheaper by then (heck, if they don't become more accessible for poorer people, something will be so VERY wrong!), but you'll still have some people swearing "those cars have no punch and i can't smell the gas and hear the lovely noise anymore! That sucks! EV's should go to hell!".
That's obviously plain stupid. But you won't argue with them. You won't want to because they won't listen.
shavera
5 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2017
those cars have no punch


Hopefully they'll have at least test driven one and realized that even the consumer level EVs like the Bolt have more 'punch' than the equivalent ICE vehicle.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2017
@Edenlegaia
@shavera
Hopefully they'll have at least test driven one and realized that even the consumer level EVs like the Bolt have more 'punch' than the equivalent ICE...
for the record... for some (like me) it's not about "punch" so much as it's about the ability to do work in remote places - and yes, i've driven a few EV's and hybrids both

in our area farm work requires the ability to not only tow, but also 4DW... and when you have long commute times with nothing in between origin and end point, and no ability to recharge unless you have PV's on the truck, you have to consider the options

if they ever come up with a longer range EV with 4WD i sure as hell am interested, especially if there is an ability to re-charge off solar only in shorter time periods for times when remote work is being done

no one wants to spend a day or more fiddling around while a truck recharges when momma's at home makin' buffalo steaks, fresh corn and pumpkin pie
kafantaris
2.5 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2017
Big oil had better take notice and start building the infrastructure for the only business model that could work for them in the future -- hydrogen.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2017
"those cars have no punch and i can't smell the gas and hear the lovely noise anymore! That sucks! EV's should go to hell!".

Sure you'll get the petrol-heads. And there will be a market for old-timers and shows and whatnot. But the average Joe has to go where his wallet takes him. If EVs are cheaper (and as you say: there's really no reason why they shouldn't be, given that the tech is vastly simpler to maintain and the 'fuel' is dirt cheap) then Joe-Schmoe is going to go that way without batting an eye. If an EV means 1000 Euros extra in the bank per year then that's a lot of money for some.
Nik_2213
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2017
But how do you safely charge a street-parked EV ??
Pragmatism may force the policy to be softened to allow hybrids, with a waiver for eg LPG or dual fuel vehicles.

Cap, an *industrial strength* hybrid could have a big IC engine for work-horse duty, a small electric system for playing nice within city limits...
EmceeSquared
3.3 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2017
katesisco:
Actually, the result of all this yak-yak is going to be consolidated ownership by the power elite of all energy producing plants. The gas cars will be 'taxed' to deter their ownership.


Yeah, you're sure going to miss today's golden age, when gas, oil, coal and nukes are not consolidated in ownership by the power elite of the fuel producing corps and countries like the Secretart of Exxon State, the Kochs, the Sauds, Putin's oligarchs, the fattest Texans...

Oh, by 2040 many millions of Americans will produce much of their own power with cheap solar panels? Charging their own cars from their own roofs? That's really going to set back your paranoid fantasy.

Though it will make those Americans "power elite" who own their own "energy producing plants".
EmceeSquared
4 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2017
Nik_2213:
But how do you safely charge a street-parked EV ??


With streetside charging stations, like those already being deployed around the world.
Dingbone
Jul 27, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2017
But how do you safely charge a street-parked EV ??

I'm pretty sure communities will make street level charging stations available. Supermarkets are already starting to do so (and with the average daily commute being what it is a normal shopping trip will be enough to refuel...erm...recharge...I really typed 'refuel' first without thinking. Gotta learn. Gotta learn). Public parking garages would be a natural fit, too.
Employers could also put down charging stations.
With batteries getting better and potential charging times dropping the time is not far off when a trip to a charging station might not be much different than a trip to the gas station today.

So while I see the problem you're raising I don't think it's an insurmountable one (and most of the above options look a lot more convenient than what we have for fossil fueled cars today, where you're absolutely forced to make an extra trip for no other reason than to recharge...erm...refuel. Dang.).
EmceeSquared
5 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2017
Dingbone
This is ideological decission not economical one - especially for Britain, which produces most of electricity of coal and gas anyway


That was a great page you linked to, "The 'electric cars aren't green' myth debunked" - glad you agree with it. Thanks for sharing with us its explained facts, like "In the UK [... electric cars using grid power] are as good as the best petrol hybrids". And that doesn't even count the full carbon load of refining petrol for those countries, so EVs are even better.

So therefore you agree that EVs are cleaner than ICEs, even in the UK, right?

The UK government realizes it's faster, cheaper and easier to clean its electric grid than to clean petrol emissions. It's an economic decision, because less dirty = less waste = more $ efficient. And less emissions = less catastrophe = much more $ efficient. It's a survival decision supported by economics.

Surely you're not making an ideological decision to ignore all that, right?
EmceeSquared
5 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2017
antialias_physorg:
I'm pretty sure communities will make street level charging stations available. Supermarkets are already starting to do so


Indeed in NY the state already has incentives for municipalities and businesses to install chargers at their public parking. Even more combined incentives for solar roofs with chargers, so lots of parking garages are doing it. Other states like California probably have even more. And we still have 23 years to go before 2040.
Edenlegaia
5 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2017


Nik_2213:
But how do you safely charge a street-parked EV ??


With streetside charging stations, like those already being deployed around the world.


Although i don't know about people being able to have "cheap" solar panels and so on THAT early (yep, 2040 seems early to me, in that regard), i can tell they'll be able to easily recharge their EV is they can afford it. In France, even my village installed two recharge spots. Heck, it has less than 600 inhabitants, surely towns around the world will have plenty of em if that's not already the case!
EmceeSquared
5 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2017
Edenlegaia:
i don't know about people being able to have "cheap" solar panels and so on THAT early (yep, 2040 seems early to me, in that regard)


Solar panels already cost under 75% the cost of grid electricity; innovations and mass marketing have barely begun. By 2040 solar will cost about 22% of today's costs, so under 16% today's grid. Cheap.

* Details:
Solar panels now cost something like $2:Wp installed in residences, with a 25-30+ year lifetime, so about 263KWh at annualized peak output. Even if total insolation is only 10% of annualized peak (and it's far more most everywhere), that makes $0.076:KWh , so probably less than 5 cents per KWh wherever you are. With utility scale solar already costing under $1:W installed (cheaper than coal), solar is less than half that price. The USA has some of the cheapest KWhs in the world (with solar only 1% of it) as low as $0.07:KWh.
and
https://www.pv-te...-by-2040
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2017
*industrial strength* hybrid could have a big IC engine for work-horse duty, a small electric system for playing nice within city limits...
@Nik_2213
yep!
i've advocated for this more than a few times because it makes sense during the interim until they can develop a long range electric

.

With streetside charging stations
@MC^2
i think you missed the point: not all streets are the same, especially in urban areas
methinks the keywords were "safely charge", but i could be mistaken

.

Although i don't know about people being able to have "cheap" solar panels and so on THAT early
@Edenlegaia
cheap refers to new only
i outfitted my solar system with used panels for mostly free
by mostly i mean this: i didn't pay for the panels- i was actually paid to remove the panels for the marina and boats that were upgrading to the latest greatest panels and i got to keep the used ones which were only 3 years old

there might be a great incentive program there...
Captain Stumpy
not rated yet Jul 28, 2017
@Edenlegaia cont'd
my only payout was for the material to mount and track, plus the wiring to the house

.

Solar panels already cost under 75% the cost of grid electricity; innovations and mass marketing have barely begun
@MC^2
not to start a fight or anything but... i think the problem is that it costs up front, and that is a serious limitation for the poor

things are changing, true, but with that change also comes adjustment and training

you can't just swap from current grid power to solar without knowing the limitations of the power supply, like: any electrical motor is a power black hole (fans, hot plates, microwaves, fridge, etc)

one of the biggest hurdles for clean energy is adaptation to this
here is a fantastic resource for learning all about solar, though: http://realgoods....-edition

two decades and counting on used panels running a whole house with flat-screen tv, laptops, large fridge and A/C
EmceeSquared
5 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2017
Captain Stumpy:
it costs up front, and that is a serious limitation for the poor


It costs up front if you want to own it, and get the total ROI. Or SolarCity and other leasers will install it, take all liabilities including finance, set you a new electricity price rate that saves you money and eliminates your Greenhouse pollution.

To own, there are lots of great financing systems, such as in NY you pay at most 4.99% interest on a 15 y loan (if you can't get under 4% on a mortgage). Zero your electric bill; NY like most states still offers net metering (surplus to grid in Summer, draw down that credit in Winter). A 20% anual ROI is typical (within the typical range 14-35%), and electricity prices increase typically at least 2.5% annually, which you're saving for 30 years. So you've substituted in a loan repayment stream much cheaper than the electric bill you've substituted out, with no money down. No burden to your credit rating or property taxes.
Captain Stumpy
not rated yet Jul 31, 2017
Or SolarCity and other leasers will install it, take all liabilities
@MC^2
not saying you're wrong by any means... just pointing out that this is not available in all areas (like here where i live)

this is a problem some folk have when talking about this, especially considering how vast the US actually is... not every state has the same rules or availability, nor do they all have the same access
To own, there are lots of great financing systems
again, this is dependent upon where you live

some banks are stingy: when we sought financing for our wind turbine backup we couldn't get it

plus, being poor affects how likely you are to get any financing, with the debt to income ratio being relevant in the discourse

i was just wanting you to know that there are lots of poor folk out there without the same resources or availability to financing, etc, the modern mid-income family has... for them, it's just not feasible
EmceeSquared
5 / 5 (1) Jul 31, 2017
Captain Stumpy:
not every state has the same rules or availability, nor do they all have the same access


Certainly true. It's one small but representative reason that voting for Republicans or other corrupt officials in local elections makes problems intractable even when science and technology can solve them.

Sustainable energy investments ought to be the cornerstone of rehabbing communities from broken finance, especially where the community is the victim of injustice (eg. redlining against otherwise equally risky borrowers). Already paying for energy, but renting instead of owning. Switch that utility bill stream to repay a loan with fixed rate below their energy inflation cost, paid off well before ROI ends, no extra taxes or credit rating/limit burden, on such a vanishingly low risk, should be the biggest influence on a poor household's economy - entirely positive. Of course that's why so many gangster governments sacrifice constituents to corporate sponsors.

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