UK Expected to Move Up Ban on Gas Cars to 2030

The country wants a “green economic recovery” from the pandemic

Cars, buses and pedestrians in Leicester Square in London, England
Leicester Square in London, England.
Laurenz Kleinheider/Unsplash

While the U.S. continues to fall behind on its response to human-caused climate change, the U.K. is getting more aggressive in its fight for a habitable planet. According to The Guardian, the nation is expected to move its ban on new fossil fuel cars up ten years to 2030.

Back in February, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson signaled a desire to move the ban on sales of new gasoline and diesel vehicles (which would include plug-in hybrid cars) from the current 2040 date to 2035, but now forecasts about the country’s current climate goals as well as the coronavirus pandemic are pushing that date up even further. 

“Boris Johnson is expected to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles this autumn with the announcement, one of a string of new clean energy policies to help trigger a green economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic,” The Guardian wrote. That hypothetical manufacturing increase seems promising; for one, Rolls-Royce, which builds its cars in England and previously had not committed to electrification, announced plans for an electric car days after the update on the gas car ban.

But an electric vehicle-fueled stimulus isn’t the only incentive; as Bloomberg reported, a new study from Greenpeace and Green Alliance found that the country would need to move the ban to 2030 in order to meet its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

According to Labour Party MP Matthew Pennycook, the new deadline is “an ambitious but achievable date” and 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,” as The Guardian reported.

It’s a stark contrast to the situation in the U.S., where the Trump administration is not only attempting to weaken automotive emissions standards, an act that would lead to dirtier air, higher prices at the pump and an accelerated climate crisis, but the president continues to deny basic science in response to the effects climate change is already having on the country.

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