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Petrol and Diesel Cars to be banned in the U.K. by 2040 - One Track Mind

Petrol and Diesel Cars to be banned in the U.K. by 2040

The government have announced that from 2040, you will no longer be able to buy a new petrol or diesel car in the U.K., leaving you with no choice but to go electric.  My first thoughts: “WHAT! No more V8s! What about classic cars? And beautiful supercars?” My retirement dreams, crushed.  Now, I’m aware of the measures that have already been taken to try and reduce pollution in the cities, however, the death sentence has now been served.  And honestly, I’d rather not know when they’re going to die. 

Only 5 years ago, we were encouraged to buy diesel for improved efficiency and low CO2 emissions.  Now they’ve gone through a complete u-turn, and buying a diesel is now as encouraged as taking up smoking.  The NOx produced is a significant contributor to respiratory issues and adverse health effects. So I understand why, but it doesn’t make it any easier to come to terms with.  At the moment the ban will apply to any car using a combustion engine, including hybrids, so there’s no half way.  It’s electric or nothing. 

But are electric cars the answer? 

What we need is fewer cars, not just cleaner cars.  Electric cars do not produce emissions themselves, but the generation of electricity used to charge the battery does. In addition, electric cars will not reduce the particulate matter, which is caused by brake and tyre wear as well as road abrasion.  This type of pollution has links to cardiopulmonary health problems and has been attributed to 29,000 deaths per year, 5,500 more than those attributed to NOx (theguardian). And here’s me thinking electric cars produce zero pollution!

Even if they started tomorrow, I do not think there is enough time to implement the new infrastructure required for an all electric car nation.  

Currently, only 1.8% of all cars registered in the U.K. are electric, which is equivalent to around 100,000 cars (nextgreencar.com).

This just highlights the scale of the changes requirement and to me it seems unrealistic.  

We need to give people other viable and cheap options of taking short journeys, especially inside cities.  How about improving the affordability of train travel? Or introducing a cycling infrastructure to stop people grabbing the car keys every time they head out the door.  I have seen this done in the Netherlands, where cycling is lifestyle, but with almost 19,000 reported accidents in 2015 on British roads involving cyclists (ROSPA), people are not willing to take that risk, and quite right too. 

I know there will be significant advancements in electric cars before 2040.  The current market choice is quite poor, unless you’ve got a spare £90k to spend on a Tesla.  But if you look at how far we’ve come, I’d like to think the Tesla S is the equivalent of the Nokia 3210, and by 2040 we’ll have the equivalent of an iPhone 8.  I’ve watched Formula E, and you might as well watch it on mute as there’s no satisfaction in listening to silence in the straights and tyre squealing in the corners.  But this is allowing progress to be made in the electric car field, and by 2040 I imagine there will be cleaner electricity, quick charging stations and improved battery range.

Either way, I just feel sorry for all those people who are never going to get to drive a petrol car. The clock is ticking and it’s time for me to write my bucket list of everything I just have to drive before they’re gone.  

Have you got a dream car you’d like to own before the ban? Leave a comment below! 

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Alice Cary

I've always thought of a car as more than just a way from A to B. It has character, personality, it's a friend that takes you on a journey. If you don't believe me, you're driving the wrong car.

7 thoughts on “Petrol and Diesel Cars to be banned in the U.K. by 2040

  • October 7, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Very informative. Very helpful. learned a lot. #biggestfan

  • October 9, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I totally agree with this decision and feel that there is no benefit of using petroleum and diesel as they pollute the environment. Using electricity as a mode of fuel would be great as it won’t the nature and hence there would be less damage to the car engine.

    • October 10, 2017 at 11:03 pm

      Hi Olivia! Thanks for your comment. You’re right, they do pollute the environment, but at the moment there is no way of cleanly producing all the electricity that would be required to charge all the car batteries either. A lot of work still needs to be done! I still think we need more effort on reducing the number of cars in cities altogether.

  • October 17, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Cool post and raises lots of conversation points. Tesla and Dyson are working on battery cell technology which will need significantly improving to make them more efficient, lighter and less hazardous to dispose of.
    Using fossil fuels to generate electricity in power plants (for use in cars) is more efficient than using them in cars as fuel.
    Should you run out of juice it will be a long walk (or push) with a heavy battery pack to the nearest recharging station. Can solar panels on the car provide enough power? Probably not at the moment.
    Then the vehicles that need more torque (agricultural and industrial etc) are a bigger challenge but out of scope for this (I think?).

    There are interesting infrastructure innovations (that’s a lot of ins) around cities to look at traffic flow to reduce the amount of time engines are turning over but not used for movement. And this guy! 😉

    But then there is the sound and feel of an engine that quiet electric cars don’t match. Unless you live near a busy road or a motorway. And they are already fast and quiet enough to make crossing the road dangerous if there were more around.

    Anyway just some thoughts

    • October 18, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      Great points Andy!

      Also check out this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/how_toxic_is_your_car_exhaust. An interesting read and an unexpected result!
      It annoys me how the emission test gives misleading results, yet these data are used to calculate all sorts of charges for us motorists. Yes, they have just “improved” the test, but it’s not been applied retrospectively. The NOx limit has also been increased to match the rise in NOx levels from the new test. In my mind it doesn’t sound like much of an improvement.

      Also bad news if you drive a diesel Nissan Qashqai. Not only is it now the most popular car in the UK, it’s also one of the highest producers of NOx, reaching 18 times the limit during a real life test on the road. What a great combination. It’s not surprising that the government want to ban petrol and diesel cars when new diesels are performing worse than those produced 8 years ago!

  • March 11, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    Throughout the grand scheme of things you actually receive an A with regard to effort and hard work. Where exactly you actually confused me personally was first in your specifics. As as the maxim goes, the devil is in the details… And that could not be more accurate here. Having said that, let me tell you exactly what did work. The authoring is certainly pretty engaging and this is possibly the reason why I am taking the effort in order to opine. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, despite the fact that I can easily notice the jumps in reason you come up with, I am not confident of just how you seem to unite the details which in turn help to make the final result. For right now I will yield to your position however wish in the foreseeable future you link your dots much better.

    • April 7, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      Hello! Thank you so much for your comment and taking the time to read through my post. This was just some of my initial reactions to the news, and I could definitely go on to write a lot more on this topic! I was trying to pick out some of the key points, however, thank you for your feedback and I will definitely take this on board when reaching my conclusions in future. Is there anything you would like to see more of on here? Are there any other discussions you would enjoy reading and engaging with? Look forward to hearing more from you in the future!


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