Petrol and diesel cars ban: when it starts, which vehicles won’t be allowed after 2030 - and what happens to older cars

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that as part of a 10-point environmental plan the UK will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.

But what are the implications of the ban for the UK’s 40 million drivers?

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What does the ban mean?

From 2030, car makers will not be allowed to sell any new cars that use only a petrol or diesel engine, known as internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.

The latest announcement represents an acceleration of existing Government plans to stop the sale of combustion-engined cars and vans, bringing it forward from 2040.

What about hybrids?

The Prime Minister’s statement said that the ban would be delayed for hybrid cars and vans that “can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe”.

That is widely taken to mean plug-in hybrids (PHEV) but not “self-charging” hybrids or cars with a simple mild hybrid arrangement, both of which can cover only short distances at a time in EV mode.

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Sales of new PHEVs will be allowed to continue until 2035. After that no combustion-engined cars or vans can be sold.

Why are petrol and diesel cars being banned?

The UK has a commitment to cut its CO2 emissions to zero by 2050. Reducing the tailpipe emissions and other pollution such as NOx from fossil fuel-burning passenger vehicles is part of that. Cars account for 18 per cent of the country’s CO2 emissions, according to government data.

The ban aims to cut the emissions from transport (Photo: Shutterstock)

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A buyers’ guide to hybrids and electric cars

Can I still buy, sell and drive a petrol or diesel car after 2030?

Yes. The ban only applies to the sale of brand-new cars. That means you will still be able to buy and sell second-hand ICE and hybrid vehicles and drive them.

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The average age of a car in the UK is currently eight years, meaning that even after 2030, millions of people will still be using older ICE vehicles. There are currently no plans to ban their use.

What will replace petrol and diesel cars?

The Government is throwing its weight behind battery electric vehicles (EVs). EVs are powered by large lithium-ion batteries and electric motors and produce no tailpipe emissions.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEV), which use electricity generated from splitting hydrogen atoms to power their motors, are an alternative zero-emission option. However, there are far fewer models available and the fuelling infrastructure is far less advanced the EV charging in the UK.

EVs are seen by the Government as the best replacement for ICE cars (Photo: Shutterstock)