BMW April 2022

The British government’s plan to bring forward a ban on new petrol and diesel cars to fight climate change will increase concerns from automakers about the impact on the industry and jobs.  

The UK’s deadline for killing off vehicles powered by fossil fuels keeps moving forward, and could now be just 12 years away. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is seeking to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2032 to meet its goal for net zero emissions by the middle of the century. 

That’s three years earlier than the 2035 date Johnson announced recently, and eight years earlier than the 2040 deadline announced just two-and-a-half years ago. 

“The Prime Minister has said we would like to do that by 2035 at the latest,” Shapps told BBC Radio 5 Live. “We have said 2035 or even 2032.” 

The consultation document will include an option for 2032, he said.  That is likely to fuel concerns from UK automakers, which have already warned that the 2035 goal will hurt the auto industry and heavily impact on jobs. 

Johnson’s new push includes hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles that accounted for more than 13 000 sales in January. Including a tripling of full-electric sales to 4 054 cars, vehicles with alternative powertrains accounted for about12%  of the market, the highest on record. 

The government hopes the ban will drive sales of full-electric vehicles, which will not only cut pollution but also create a market that will help attract manufacturers to Johnson’s Conservative Party manifesto pledge to build the UK’s first battery gigafactory. 

 By Jessica Shankleman