Ban on sale of new petrol and diesel cars delayed20 Sep 2023

PM backtracks on "historic step"

The RAC Foundation has responded to the news that the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK has been pushed back from 2030 to 2035.

The original 2030 ban was announced back in November 2020 and described at the time by ministers as a “historic step”.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“We estimate that if the UK is to meet its carbon reduction obligations then at least 37% of all miles driven by cars, taxis and vans will need to be zero emission by 2030 – but with only 844,000 of the 33 million or so cars on the UK roads today being pure battery electric that means we have a mountain to climb.

“While many new battery-electric models have been coming onto the market, and showroom prices for electric cars have been edging downwards, it is a brave assumption to think that this would have happened – or will continue at the necessary pace – without the regulatory pressure of the 2030 ban on sale of new petrol and diesel cars.

“It is hard to understand the rationale for the Prime Minister’s decision to delay the ban on sale of petrol and diesel cars by five years – what message does taking his foot off the gas in this way send to an auto industry that was confident of its ability to hit the 2030 deadline on the basis of a clear and consistent regulatory regime?

“Be they motorists or not, taxpayers might wonder how back-pedalling on the switch to electric cars can be consistent with the Government having put huge sums of public money on the table to support battery production.”



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

[email protected] | 07711 776448

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist. All the Foundation’s work is available at: