U.K. Pledges to Ban Sale of New Gas, Diesel Cars by 2030 as Part of ‘Green Industrial Revolution’
The pledge includes $774 million in grants so that people will be able to afford the new cars
The year 2030 will mark the end of the sale of gas and diesel cars in the United Kingdom as part of a new, 10-point plan for a so-called “Green Industrial Revolution” meant to tackle climate change and revitalize the British job market.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out his plan on Wednesday, and said the end of new gas and diesel cars and vans will now come 10 years earlier than previously planned.
“[We will back] our world-leading car manufacturing bases including in the West Midlands, North East and North Wales to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, and transforming our national infrastructure to better support electric vehicles,” Johnson said in a statement.
The U.K. will, however, allow the sale of hybrid cars and vans that can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe until 2035.
To help push the plan along, Johnson announced he’d allocate the equivalent of $1.7 billion to speed up the rollout of electric vehicle chargers in homes, streets and on motorways across the country to make it easier for people to charge their cars.
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He also pledged the equivalent of $774 million in grants so that zero or ultra-low emission vehicles would be cheaper for people to buy, and to give them more of an incentive to make the transition from gas and diesel cars.
That grant was praised by auto industry group SMMT, which said in a statement to Reuters that the plan’s success will “depend on reassuring consumers that they can afford these new technologies.”
An additional $664 million will be spent over the next four years to develop and produce electric vehicle batteries, Johnson said.
The announcement comes two months after California made a similar promise, with Gov. Gavin Newsom signing an executive order requiring all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
He said the goal was to gradually move toward electric vehicles and vehicles that use alternative fuels like hydrogen as a means of fighting climate change while also creating jobs.
"Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma," Newsom said. "Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines."
Meanwhile, Johnson said the goal for his plan is to not only tackle climate change, but to create and support up to 250,000 jobs in the U.K.
Other parts of the plan include producing enough offshore wind to power every home in the country, pushing nuclear power as a clean energy source, making cycling and walking more attractive ways to travel, planting 30,000 hectares of trees each year and making homes, schools and hospitals more energy efficient.
The U.K. will host the COP26 global climate conference next year following a year-long delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The country has also reportedly pledged to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.