Could car ownership soon be banned?

Minister suggests a national move from private car ownership to shared transport - could this work?
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The UK government plans to drastically reduce the number of cars on Britain’s roads by 2030 to reach their target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. However, one government minister has even suggested banning all cars.

Transport minister, Trudy Harrison had previously called on the country to accept shared mobility to reduce the number of cars on the road. She said a move was needed to move away from "20th-century thinking centred around private vehicle ownership and towards greater flexibility, with personal choice and low carbon shared transport", Express reports.

However, many drivers have criticised the government’s plans as they may lead to “huge expenses” as many commuters will have to rely on Taxis, Busses, and other forms of public transport.

Despite what the transport minister previously suggested, the government maintains that you’ll still be allowed to own a petrol or diesel car, but manufacturers won’t be able to sell new ones.

Manufacturers are due to cease production of plug in-hybrids by 2035, which is also the deadline for when dealers are allowed to sell news ones.

One possibility is that diesel, petrol and plug in-hybrid cars will be completely banned from roads by 2035, leaving fully electric cars as the only alternative to public transport. If this is the case, charging points would have to be much more available than they are at the time of writing this. As the  Zap-Map below will show you, whilst there are thousands of charging points in the UK, they become much scarcer in rural areas, especially in the north of England, Scotland and much of Wales.

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Zap-Map showing the number of electric vehicle charging points in Wales, England and most of Ireland

“To help facilitate the transition from fossil-fuel cars, £1.3 billion is being invested in EV chargepoints for homes, streets and motorways across England. A further £582 million is being set aside for grants to help people into EVs and PHEVs”, says Auto Express.

It is evident that a sizable portion of the public appear to be aware that fossil fuel cars will still be available for purchase several years after manufacturers cease production of new ones since fully electric and plug-in vehicles currently account for around 18.3% of the UK car market share in August 2021, however, fossil fuel cars still dominate approximately 72.5% of the market with diesels accounting for 14.2%, including mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEVs), and petrol cars accounting for a whopping 58.3% of all new cars registered in 2021 – According to About Manchester.

One reason many commuters are sticking with fossil-fuel (petrol and diesel) cars is because they will generally do more miles on a full tank, especially diesel which tend to do more miles to the gallon on the motorway than petrol and plug-in hybrids.

The government’s current plans have made the future of the car market very uncertain for consumers and traders alike but moving to a policy as radical as banning all cars thus forcing commuters to rely on public services such as busses and taxies as Transport Minister, Trudy Harrison previously suggested would cause the closure of thousands of dealerships, tens of thousands of people would lose their jobs and public transport services would be overwhelmed by the massive increase in demand, which would also increase the cost of living.

The good news is that the notion of banning all cars is hypothetical for now and a policy as extreme as that wouldn’t likely win a vote in the House of Commons.

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An electric car being charged.

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Joseph Catley - SYPC Media Manager

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