The UK Is Waging A Multi-Billion Dollar War To Get Rid Of The Combustion Engine

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

The United Kingdom released a plan Monday outlining its strategy for banning vehicles with gas and diesel-powered engines from British highways by 2040.

The U.K. government announced its intent to ban or severely restrict combustion engines by 2040 in July 2017. At the time, auto manufacturers feared the initiative would push carmakers too far too quickly, rushing them to get compliant cars on the road. Environmentalists argued the opposite, saying that U.K. citizens were already feeling the negative effects of pollution.

The plan is equivalent to a nearly $2-billion investment in the British transportation system. The 147-page plan includes new funding and programs for public transit to shift to battery-powered vehicles, crafts new regulations constricting the sale of fossil fuel powered engines and invests in numerous infrastructure projects installing vehicle charging stations all over the country. New homes built in England will also be required to install a charging station in the garage, according to the document.

“Our mission is to put the U.K. at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles, and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040,” the document says, laying out the government’s long-term goals. “We will end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040. By then, we expect the majority of new cars and vans sold to be 100% zero emission and all new cars and vans to have significant zero emission capability.”

The transition will be “industry and consumer led,” according to the plan.

“Against a rapidly evolving international context, we will seek to maintain the U.K.’s leadership position and meet our ambitions, and will consider what interventions are required if not enough progress is being made,” the document states.

France and Germany are pursuing similar regulations and combustion engine bans. The European Union is also pushing its members toward embracing battery-powered vehicles while curbing the use of fossil fuels.

Automakers and some officials are worried the zeal with which governments are pursuing green policies will bury manufacturers in regulations that drive them out of business before their technology catches up. (RELATED: Europe Is Waging War On The Internal Combustion Engine)

“While I am convinced that we should rapidly head for zero-emission vehicles in Europe, policymakers and industry cannot have an interest in a rapid collapse of the diesel market in Europe as a result of local driving bans,” EU commissioner of industry Elzbieta Bienkowska said in a July 17, 2017, letter, according to Reuters.

“It would only deprive the industry of necessary funds to invest in zero-emissions vehicles,” Bienkowska said.

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