New changes by the UK government will see the long-term reign of fossil fuel vehicles come to an end in 2035.

The UK has pledged to make the country carbon neutral by 2050. This ambitious target will result in the gradual decrease of fossil fuel cars and vans in the marketplace, eventually leading to a ban on sales in 2035.

Although the original date earmarked for the ban on fossil fuel cars and vans was intended to be 2040, many commentators and specialists agreed this would be too late to reach the 2050 carbon neutral target.

Now the ban will come into force in 2035 - 5 years earlier than originally planned.

What does the fossil fuel ban involve?

The UK’s decision to ban fossil fuel vehicles will involve banning the sale of diesel, petrol, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid cars by 2035.

There will be a gradual phasing out of the sale of fossil fuel cars and an introduction of new types of low and zero emission vehicles.

This means that people will only be able to buy a dedicated electric or hydrogen vehicle.

Currently, the cost of electric and hydrogen cars are expensive. Non fossil fuel vehicles account for a small percentage of total car sales in the UK - but the trend is slowly changing.

For the government to meet their target, the market will need to adapt to ensure low and zero emission cars and vans are affordable to the masses. This seems a long way off at the present moment in time.

Another key challenge is maintaining skilled jobs in car manufacturing while increasing production and demand for electric cars. The next five years will be crucial if the government is to make headway on their promise.

What are the benefits of electric and hydrogen cars?

The major advantage of electric and hydrogen vehicles is that they are better for the environment and more economical to run. While the initial cost for a non fossil fuel car may currently be higher, over time, the vehicle can prove very cost-effective.

Zero emission cars are also more affordable to maintain, since they have fewer moving parts than traditional petrol and diesel engines. These are just some of the reasons why some people are moving to low or zero emission models.

Fossil fuels and environmental pollution

Diesel cars, including taxis, create the highest levels of roadside environmental pollution in towns and cities - ahead of diesel vans, HGVs, and diesel buses. Petrol cars, in contrast, contribute a significantly lower amount of noxious gases.

In many urban centres, roadside environmental pollution is measured at unsafe levels, especially at rush hour where traffic is queued bumper to bumper. The pollution is said to contribute to many thousands of premature deaths every year.

For motorists looking to invest in a new car in the near future, diesel cars still provide excellent fuel economy compared to petrol models. But they are probably only worthwhile for people who travel many miles every year.

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