The UK government has been considering banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles for a few years now. It's expected to happen sometime in 2035. 

This is part of the government's plans to tackle the issue of air pollution and the increasingly negative impact these vehicles are having on the environment. 

Research by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air has suggested that pollution from fossil fuels leads to at least four million premature deaths per year. Vehicles are clearly partly to blame for this problem among others. 

The petrol and diesel ban is part of the plan to tackle this issue. Here's everything you need to know. 

Ban on new fossil fuel car sales

The government's plan to ban petrol and diesel cars centres around the sale of new vehicles that burn these fossil fuels. That means that new conventional cars and other vehicles will be banned from sale by 2040 at the latest. It is thought that this might be earlier if possible - perhaps by 2035. 

The plan is to push towards all cars on the road being zero-emission by 2050. The move towards ultra-low emission vehicles has already begun in some ways, with special Ultra Low Emission Zones being rolled out in London in 2019. 

The policy will also ban hybrid vehicles. Hybrids are vehicles that get power from both a traditional combustion engine and a battery system. Those cars still have some fuel consumption and therefore emissions - even if at a lower level than traditional cars. They are included in the ban too so you won't be able to buy a new one once the rules come into force. 

The UK isn't the only country to ban petrol and diesel vehicles. Other countries are implementing plans as well:

  • Denmark banning new petrol and diesel cars by 2030
  • France banning new petrol and diesel cars by 2040
  • Ireland banning new petrol and diesel cars by 2030
  • The Netherlands banning all petrol and diesel cars by 2030 
  • Sweden banning new petrol and diesel cars by 2030
  • Costa Rica banning new petrol and diesel cars by 2050
  • Iceland banning new petrol and diesel cars by 2030

The list continues to grow

What about second-hand cars?

The petrol and diesel ban is aimed at the sale of new cars. This doesn't mean you need to buy a new electric car by 2035 and ditch your current petrol vehicle before then.

It also doesn't mean you can't sell your petrol or diesel car after that time. Nor does it mean owning one will become illegal. 

The plan is designed to stop vehicle manufacturers from producing more fossil fuel vehicles - meaning fewer on the roads and less pollution too. 

Will there be help to buy?

Obviously not everyone will be in a position to buy a new electric or ultra-low emission vehicle by 2035. It is expected that there will be a scrappage scheme where you can trade your old combustion-engined vehicle in for a discount on a new car. 

This scheme will also be tailored to help those on lower incomes or who live near a special Ultra Low Emission Zone in order to help people get about still. There's already a scrappage scheme being run by the Mayor of London for just this reason in. 

The move to electric vehicles

These plans are designed to encourage car manufacturers to move towards making more electric vehicles. Some brands are already experimenting with all-electric vehicles or already have been for a few years. 

Volvo, for example, is planning to get 50 per cent of its sales to be all-electric by 2025. 

A lot needs to change between now and then. One of which is the number of public charging stations and the availability to motorists on the roads. 

The UK government is already planning on investing hundreds of millions of pounds in investing in the charging point infrastructure but it's clearly going to take some time.

The Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 was introduced to allow the government to have the power to require petrol stations, motorway service areas and more to introduce accessible charging points. 

Zap-Map shows there are 18,000 charging points in the UK at the time of writing and this is likely to grow between now and the ban coming into force. It is estimated that we'll need at least 25 million charging points to keep up with future demand though. 

How will the ban affect classic cars?

The petrol and diesel ban is aimed at the sale of new vehicles, so theoretically the ban won't impact classic cars in this way. 

However, there will no doubt be some knock-on effects. It's expected that the value of traditional combustion-engine cars will fall dramatically during and in the years that follow the ban. 

With more and more electric cars on the road, the number of traditional refuelling points will also start to decline. So if you own a classic car it might be more difficult to keep running. Higher taxes may well be implemented on fossil fuel to discourage use too - making it more costly to run a classic car as well. 

We already know low-emission zones are designed to penalise high-polluting vehicles, so this is another consideration. 

That said, with the rise of electric vehicles, there might also be a growing nostalgia for classic cars in the years that follow. 

Which electric car should you buy?

Although the ban on petrol cars isn't coming for a few years, there's no harm in getting involved early and buying an electric vehicle before then. 

Traditionally electric cars have been significantly more expensive than their combustion engine counterparts, but as technology has progressed costs have come down.

With more manufacturers switching to all-electric in the coming years, the prices should drop further. 

There are plenty of great electric vehicles available to buy currently, with some being comparable price-wise to their petrol-based alternatives.