A ban on the sale of new gasoline, diesel, and even hybrid cars could go into effect in the UK as soon as 2035, under a new proposal by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. That deadline is five years earlier than previously planned. The announcement came as Johnson's government announced its plans for the COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference that the UK is hosting in November in Glasgow.
"We have to deal with our CO2 emissions, and that is why the UK is calling for us to get to net zero as soon as possible, to get every country to announce credible targets to get there – that’s what we want from Glasgow," Johnson said.
The plan is subject to consultation, and the cutoff date could be moved even earlier "if a faster transition was feasible."
The UK's new deadline, though, already is one of the most ambitious in Europe. Norway — which has embraced EVs — has a stated goal that all new cars should be EVs by 2025, but it's not a ban. France wants to end sales of fossil-fuel cars by 2040. And some cities have proposed banning them from city centers starting in 2025.
The UK government in 2018 said it planned to outlaw the sale of gasoline and diesel new cars and vans starting in 2040, but that proposal still permitted ultra-low-emissions hybrids. The new proposal not only moves the date five years closer, it permits only zero-emissions vehicles.
According to Autocar, EVs represented just 1.6% of new-car sales in Britain in 2019. Gasoline-powered vehicles took a 64.8% share of the market, while diesels accounted for 25.2% of new-car sales.