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Delaying switch to electric vehicles is as damaging as 200 million short haul flights

Maintaining the 2030 date would make all the new North Sea oil licences unnecessary, says New Automotive

New Automotive
29 November 2023


Delaying the phase out of new combustion engine car sales will result in the UK producing more than 35 million tonnes of additional greenhouse gases between 2030 and 2050, according to a new report from New AutoMotive. 

A report from the transport research organisation reveals that these emissions are the equivalent to the entire UK population taking three short haul flights, and aren’t the only downside to the delay. Pushing the switchover back will also result in consumers needlessly paying between £6.5bn and 10bn extra to refuel inefficient petrol and diesel cars.

However, now drivers will pay an average of 15 to 25% more on fuel, approximately £6.5-10 billion, compared to what they would pay under the 2030 plan. New Automotive predicts we also expect 400,000 more petrol and diesel vehicles to still be on UK roads by 2050.

Restoring the 2030 date would reduce the UK’s demand for oil by an amount equal to all the additional supply which the UK expects to extract, refine and consume between now and 2050 under new North Sea licences.

The government also anticipated that the 2030 switch would increase salaries in the manufacturing sector, drive significant UK export opportunities and lead to greater UK output and earnings. Since the pushback, New Automotive says, these benefits have been dropped from government analysis due to the UK’s “retreat into the herd”.

Ben Nelmes, chief executive of New AutoMotive, said: "It’s great to see the government is putting a California-style zero emissions vehicle mandate into law, for which New AutoMotive has been calling for two years. The policy will cut costs for motorists and extend consumer choice, and by giving policy stability, it will support expansion of the charging network, grid resilience and more secure supply chains.

“Indecision and delay are the parents of failure – delaying the transition to electric cars and vans will deter consumers and disrupt business confidence. Rather than relying on miracle technologies or costly scrappage schemes to encourage owners to give up polluting vehicles, it would be cheaper and greener to reinstate the sensible and achievable target of ending sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2030.”

New AutoMotive’s full report ‘Delays have dangerous ends’ can be found here

New AutoMotive is an independent transport research organisation that contributed to bringing forward the original UK petrol and diesel ban from 2040 to 2030. It supports the UK government and local councils through its array of data, helping policy makers, businesses, and consumers understand the innovations being made in the electric vehicle (EV) space.

Each month it releases its Electric Car Count, a source of EV data in the UK including figures on electric cars, vans, HGVs, and bikes. Car data can be broken down by fuel type, car manufacturer and region. The data goes back to August 2017 and there is an infographic to see how each manufacturer is fairing against each other.

The organisation has also released numerous reports detailing the switch to electric and what the UK government needs to do to make this happen.

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