Ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars – response to the DfT consultation31 Jul 2020

The RAC Foundation has said that from a legislative point of view government can choose whatever date it likes to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars but that the nearer that date is the greater the challenges.

Responding to the Department for Transport’s consultation on when to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars the Foundation says that “arguably by concentrating on domestic carbon emissions we could merely be exporting the carbon problem, and unlike air quality, which is a place-specific issue, carbon emissions are a problem wherever they happen.”

In the consultation response it also says that when deciding on a cutoff date consideration has to be given to other big social and technological changes:

“Beyond thinking of complementary measures to encourage, incentivise and require zero-tailpipe vehicles we would urge government to think more broadly about other issues that are leading to seismic changes in the world of motoring, such as:

  • The new ‘intelligent speed assistance’ technology that will become a mandatory fitment from 2022 which could challenge the very existence of the performance car market for vehicles intended for use on the public road, but could also see a spike in the value of pre-2022 ICE performance vehicles;
  • The widely anticipated advance of vehicle automation and vehicle sharing leading to less private vehicle ownership and thereby a reduction in the overall size of the car vehicle parc; and
  • Policies to slow and/or restrict car use in built-up areas, and switch ‘last-mile’ freight deliveries to alternative vehicles such as electrically boosted delivery bicycles.All such policies should be weighed, and their potential contribution assessed in deciding where best to impose regulation and/or spend taxpayers’ money in order to achieve the best/swiftest outcome.”