UK Moves Planned Fossil Fuel Vehicle Ban to 2030

Vehicles running on fossil fuel have had a pretty good run over the past few decades but it’s become very clear that they do more harm than good to the environment. In a bid to reduce and ultimately eliminate carbon emissions, multiple governments have pledged to phase out the sale of conventional vehicles over the next decade or two. Originally, the UK was planning on banning the sale of new fossil fuel-powered vehicles in 2040, but it is now poised to bring forward the ban to 2030 in a move designed to speed the rollout of electric vehicles (“EVs”) in the country.

According to sources in the energy and transport industries, the government had hoped to set out the plans as early as this week but the announcement has been pushed until later this year to allow it to deal with the rising number of coronavirus cases. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make the announcement, which is one of a string of new clean energy policies to aid a green economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, this autumn. Last week, the minister for Clean Energy Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed that the long-awaited energy white paper would be published this autumn after several delays.

Although the government had consulted on plans to bring forward the sale of internal combustion-engine vehicles from 2040 to 2035, it seems to be settling for the more ambitious date of 2030. This puts the country ahead of France, which plans to ban fossil fuel vehicles in 2040 and is in line with Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands which will ban the sale of new conventional vehicles in 2025. The plans are also in line with national plans to make the UK a carbon-neutral economy by the middle of the century.

Tentatively scheduled for November, the plan is expected to follow advice from the Committee on Climate Change. This may include support for the country’s nascent clean hydrogen industry to help cut carbon emissions from homes and heavy industry as well as support for small, modular nuclear reactors. Last week saw shadow climate change minister Matthew Pennycoock repeat the Labor Party’s pre-election call for a 2030 ban on carbon fuel-powered vehicle sales. He stated that it was an ambitious but achievable date that would “give a new lease of life to the UK car industry, whilst combating climate breakdown and cleaning up the air that dangerously pollutes so many of our towns and cities.

If all governments got as ambitious about phasing out internal combustion engine vehicles as the UK has been, electric vehicle makers like ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corp. Ltd. (NASDAQ: SOLO) would be very pleased since EV adoption would accelerate.

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