Friday, July 28, 2017

Will The Government's Petrol And diesel Ban Throw UK Petrol Industry Into Chaos ?

The government is due to announce shortly that new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned from 2040. The measure is part of plans to tackle the UK’s air pollution problems. It mirrors the approach being taken by France and other parts of Europe. While tackling air pollution is laudable, the move looks set to throw the UK’s petrol industry into chaos.

The price of clean air

Clean air is obviously a good thing. However, achieving it could have costly economic implications at a time when the UK economy needs careful handling. Car manufacturers can easily adapt to producing electric and hybrid cars. 

Many already plan to do so, with BMW being the latest to announce its plans for fully electric vehicles (in this case Minis). Little has been said though, of what will happen to the petrol retail industry when the number of electric vehicles on the UK’s roads rises steeply.

Just under 45 billion litres of road fuel is sold in the UK every year. 
That works out at around 77 million litres of diesel and 45 million litres of petrol per day. 2.69 million cars were registered in the UK in 2016, the vast majority of which were petrol and diesel models. 

The sudden disappearance of more than 2.5 million customers per year, when all those buying new cars purchase electric models, could very quickly destroy the petrol industry as we know it. If the government has considered this angle, it’s certainly keeping quiet about it thus far.

What about other vehicle types?

The government has also been conspicuously quiet when it comes to plans for other classes of vehicles. Lorries and buses contribute plenty of nitrogen dioxide to our air, yet the government seems to be pushing the responsibility to tackle those out to local authorities.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has stated, “What we’re saying to local authorities is come up with an imaginative solution to these proposals.” This puts the ball firmly in the court of local councils when it comes to tackling pollution from public transport. The government will dish out some £200m in funding to those local authorities, which will need to focus on tackling the worst polluted roads through measures such as making buses less polluting, changing road layouts and re-shaping traffic flows.

Is a rethink needed?

While it’s good to see the government finally on the brink of announcing its plans to tackle air pollution, is the industry missing a trick by ignoring recently announced technological advances relating to the cleanliness of diesel.

Could it be that the emissions testing scandal vilified diesel to such an extent that the government is unwilling to shout about developments such as Continental’s Super Clean Electrified Diesel technology, which reduces real world emissions by some 60%? 

Surely it would be more sensible to make it compulsory to retrofit super diesel technology into all diesel cars by 2025, for example. Such a plan could provide a serious head-start on tackling air pollution, with other measures still able to follow in due course.

What’s missing from the government’s plans?

Glaringly absent from the government’s plans is the much-anticipated diesel scrappage scheme. 

Ministers are believed to be due to consider such a scheme in the autumn, but any firm commitment to do so has been lacking. The possibility of local council diesel scrappage schemes has also been mentioned – a clear sign that the government wants to distance itself from paying any kind of compensation to diesel drivers who feel let down by the U-turn in approach to their vehicles.

Also in doubt are plans for ‘clean air zones’ within cities. When pressed on the issue of charging drivers of high polluting vehicles, Michael Gove commented,

“I don’t believe that it is necessary to bring in charging, but we will work with local authorities in order to determine what the best approach is.”

Again, it seems that central government is keen to sidestep the issue and push it out to local councils to deal with. Could it be that, even with the pressure to produce detailed plans to tackle air pollution by the 31 July deadline, and the announcement of plans to ban new diesel and petrol cars by 2040, the government is still unwilling to tackle the issue head on?

Do you think of the government’s plan to ban petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 is the right move? Or should there be more of an effort to embrace newer, cleaner technologies to reduce emissions instead? 
Let us know what you think in the comments.


Anonymous said...

Has anybody given any thought as to where the government are going to get the billions of pounds that at the present time they receive from taxes on petrol and diesel each year when there's no more petrol or diesel to be taxed.

Anonymous said...

Yet again the so called intellectual elite have not thought about any consequential knock on's which affect jobs or income or any real quality of transition between current levels of efficient supply as a fairy story!

There is a policy of the clearest deception possible to drive through a poor ideological strategy without real planning and whilst it is the first time since the cave man's invention of the wheel....bettered on the horse and cart...bettered on the steam train... bettered (or equalled) by the internal combustion engine.

and then suddenly....

The baby of transportation evolution is thrown out in the bath water for battery power which is undoubtedly poorer performing limited range and a worse and lower longevity power harness and much poorer optional choice of considerably higher purchase cost with future promises from most of the current MP's who will likely to be either long gone or be drawing and living on their fat cosy pensions.

The crafty government also has a tangent plan to fit every home in Britain with a smart meter is clearly linked to electric vehicles as to monitor the consumption of our homes and create tax tables on consumption and raise a vehicle usage tariff so there goes financial benefits to return fossil fuel taxation.

Taxi's (and all business's dependent on electric vehicles) must have a smooth like for like transition of current vehicle range performance and cost not to be forced into inferior performing transportation levels of a bygone age, ...or maybe its time for the bundle of hay to make a hasty return with a box of carrots, shovel and wellies as green ideology.. because that is the current level of intellect which is rolling standards of supply backwards... and it really is a gee up!

Be Lucky

greenbadgejohn (on twitter)