The UK has been trying to fight climate change, and it no longer seems enough to turn your heating down by one degree or turn off the lights as you leave a room. Bigger changes need to be made, and this is exactly why the government decided to put some measures in place as part of the new ‘green industrial revolution’. Part of this involves banning fossil fuel cars, such as those that run on petrol or diesel. But this is a huge change for the UK, as there are currently over 33 million fossil fuel cars registered and being driven on our roads. So when will the ban come into effect and what could it mean for you?

When will diesel cars be banned?

Diesel vehicles are not just being banned because of the effect they have on our planet, but also because of the effect they have on us. Diesel engines produce nitrogen oxides, which have previously been linked to certain health issues, such as respiratory illnesses, heart disease and even cancer.

Diesel cars will be banned from 2030. However, if you currently own a diesel car, you won’t need to get rid of it or scrap it just yet. The ban is only on new cars, therefore you can continue to buy or sell used and second hand cars that run on diesel after 2030.

When will petrol cars be banned?

Petrol cars will also be banned in 2030, just like their diesel counterparts, and hybrid cars (those that use both electricity and petrol) will be banned from 2035. As with diesel cars, you can still continue to drive your petrol or hybrid vehicle and can even buy or sell second hand fossil fuel cars after 2030 and 2035.

What will replace diesel and petrol cars?

So what will we be driving if petrol and diesel is due to be banned in 2030? Hopefully, with the recent advancements in technology, we’ll all be driving electric cars. The popularity of electric cars, or EVs, has increased dramatically in the last few years, but is the number of EVs on the road enough to make an impact on our carbon emissions?

You can see the history of the fossil fuel car in our graph below the history of the fossil fuel car. Note how its numbers have increased from just 300,000 cars in 1920 to around four million in 1950 and up to 33 million today. But on the far right, you can see the tiny percentage of electric cars in comparison, with just 50,000 in 2010 and 300,000 in 2020. This means that EVs still only take up less than one per cent of the market. With just nine years to go before the ban, the number of electric cars will need to increase massively to meet the 2030 target.

The exact figures

● 1920 | 300,000 fossil fuel cars
● 1930 | 1 million
● 1940 | 2 million
● 1950 | 4 million
● 1960 | 9.4 million
● 1970 | 15 million
● 1980 | 19 million
● 1990 | 20 million
● 2000 | 27 million
● 2010 | 30 million
● 50,000 electric cars
● 2020 | 33 million
● 300,000 electric cars

What will happen to classic cars when petrol is banned?

As we’ve previously stated, used and second hand cars can still continue to run after 2030. This means that classic cars are safe and we won’t need to erase a whole part of the UK’s history by having them all scrapped. There are more than 500,000 vehicles in the UK that are considered ‘classic’, but these will still be drivable.

However, as these cars often have very high emissions, the government could choose to introduce rules that state how often or how long the car can be driven for.