Public back Government’s petrol and diesel car phase out

Nearly half (46%) of respondents said that the Government should continue with its plans, even if it means new petrol and diesel cars won’t be available after 2035.

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By Patricia Curmi

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With some calling on the Government to reverse its commitment to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030 (and of new hybrids by 2035), polling by Focaldata and for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) reveals greater levels of support for keeping the phase out dates in place than for pushing them back [1].

When asked, nearly half (46%) of respondents said that the Government should continue with its plans, even if it means new petrol and diesel cars won’t be available after 2035. By comparison, only around a third (34%) say that the Government should delay the phase out date.

Responding to the findings Colin Walker, Head of Transport at the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “Much is being made by this Government of being on the side of motorists. But this polling shows that any action to weaken or remove the phase out dates for new petrol and diesel cars would be opposed by more people than would support it.

“The world is charging ahead with the transition to electric vehicles – the choice for this government is whether it wants to get on board and profit from these exciting new technologies of the future, or sit back and watch others take the lead – at great expense to the British economy and British jobs.  

“Any weakening of the phase out dates could have a number of consequences. Our car industry could get stuck producing petrol and diesel cars that our main export markets increasingly don’t want. The plans of our charging industry would be thrown into disarray, putting £6bn of investment in new chargers at risk. And the growth of the UK’s second-hand EV market – critical if most households are to access all the benefits and savings that come from EV ownership – would be stunted, leaving millions stuck with dirty and expensive petrol vehicles”.    

Analysis from the ECIU has found that over £13bn in car exports could be in jeopardy if the UK doesn’t speed up its transition to manufacturing electric cars. Currently four in every five cars (80%) built in the UK are exported. Of these, 71% go to three large markets – the EU, China and 16 American states – that are committed to phasing out sales of petrol and diesel vehicles. If the UK’s car industry fails to respond to these changes in demand and develop its EV manufacturing base, a conservative scenario suggests UK car exports could fall by over £13bn in 2030 alone [2].

The charging industry has stated that the petrol and diesel phase out dates, and accompanying ZEV mandate, provide certainly to invest in improving the UK’s charging infrastructure. Based on the current dates, the industry has committed over £6bn in investment to 2030 to roll out hundreds of thousands of new public chargers. Changes to these dates creates uncertainty and, in the words of ChargeUK, ‘…will mean billions of pounds of investment, thousands of new and green jobs and the supply of second hand EVs are put at risk’ [3].

Notes to editors: 

[1] Polling conducted by Focaldata. Sample size of 2010 adults in Great Britain between 28th-31st July 2023



For more information:

Tricia Curmi, Head of Digital Strategy, ECIU, Tel: 07908 517186, email: