UK to ban sales of diesel and petrol cars by 2040

Britain moves to combat air pollution and embraces a future of electric vehicles

The UK will ban sales of diesel and petrol cars by 2040 to combat air pollution, becoming the latest European country to embrace that the future in transportation will be electric vehicles.

The announcement of a new clean-air plan is expected Wednesday morning by environment secretary Michael Gove in a move that comes two weeks after France unveiled its strategy to become a carbon-neutral nation by ending the sale of fossil-fuel powered cars, also by 2040.

The global shift toward electric vehicles will create upheaval for the auto industry: from oil majors harmed by reduced gasoline demand to spark plug and fuel injection manufacturers whose products aren’t needed by plug-in cars.

In the UK, the decision is partly brought on by stringent EU emission rules that the country must follow even as it is set to leave the bloc.


In what environmentalists are already flagging as a concern, it will be up to local authorities to impose tough levies on the most polluting diesel vehicles as soon as 2020, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The plan is to urge local jurisdictions to reduce emissions first, by fitting diesel vehicles with filters, changing road layouts and removing speed humps, the paper said.

The environmental push comes as the UK plans to invest more than £800 million in driverless and zero-emission technology.

Britain also outlined plans to invest £246 million in battery technology research, and BMW AG said on Tuesday it will build an electric version of its iconic Mini compact car in Britain.