Brit-govt. to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2040 as part of green transport drive that will have global oil, energy and financial consequences

To be built in Britain - but powered by German batteries - BMW will make its BPV Mini in the UK
To be built in Britain – but powered by German batteries – BMW will make its BPV Mini in the UK

The Brit-govt. is to ban the sale of traditional ICEVs – petrol and diesel power internal combustion vehicles – in the UK from 2040.

The move is due to be formally announced by Monday in the government’s long-awaited clean air strategy as part of a plan to tackle air pollution following a series of court battles between it and environmental campaigners.

Ministers have been wary of being seen to “punish” drivers of diesel cars, who, they argue, bought the vehicles after being encouraged to by the last Labour government because they produced lower carbon emissions.

The industry trade body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said it was important to avoid outright bans on diesels, which would hurt the sector.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said demand for BPVs (battery powered vehicles) was growing but is still ‘at a very low level’.

He said: “The industry instead wants a positive approach which gives consumers incentives to purchase these cars. We could undermine the UK’s successful automotive sector if we don’t allow enough time for the industry to adjust.”

The government move comes 24 hours after BMW announced it will manufacture 300,000 BPV Minis in Oxfordshire from 2019.

However, the electric motor will be built in Germany before being shipped to Cowley for assembly.

Many analysts in the oil, energy and automotive industries anticipate the roll-out of BPVs will have hugely disruptive effects in all three sectors, and across wider society as a whole in the UK and also in global geo-politics.

Large-scale take-up of BPVs will have major consequences for oil companies, car manufacturers, renewable energy, energy supply sectors and re-charging infrastructure.

In the medium term, it will virtually absolve the Scot-Govt from the need to take any action in its draft Scottish Energy Strategy on de-carbonising transport, leaving it free to focus on de-carbonising ‘heat’ – which still accounts for more than half of Caledonian greenhouse gas emissions.

It will also cost the British treasury up to £170 billion in lost petrol and fuel duty taxes (as well as the VAT levied on these taxes) – blowing a galactic-size hole in the UK economy.

While the government is likely to simply pile on new ‘BPV’ and/or ‘energy’ taxes to fill this domestic financial hole, renewable-energy cars will also likely lead to major consolidation, innovation and/or bankruptcy of traditional Oil Majors – such as Shell and BP – which are in the top five most valuable plcs on the FTSE.

The new Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, to be introduced this autumn, will give the government power to require each major fuel station to have an electric vehicle chargepoint and also to make those chargepoints “smart” so that BPVs can give power back to the grid when needed.

If Oil Majors do not amalgamate or diversify into buying and/or developing BPV technology, and/or form alliances, mergers and/or take-overs with volume car manufacturers, they will likely go bankrupt.

Meanwhile, the practical, effective political – and commercial power – of Middle East oil sheikdoms will – for good or ill –  diminish, or at worst, collapse.

The oil-ogopolies of their ruling Arab tribes will survive as a class, fuelled for generations by historic oil wealth – but their geo-political-military significance will fade to nothing.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Renewable Energy Association – the UK’ biggest green-energy trade body – commented: “BPVs are a vital part of the future energy system, with the potential to improve air quality, decarbonise transport and optimise the UK’s energy infrastructure. .

“We need smart vehicle charging and price reflective tariffs if the future electric fleet is to be a huge benefit and not a hindrance to our grid. By using electricity at night or less busy periods during the day EVs can smooth out peaks in demand, but this is reliant on government policy and regulators.  

“The car industry is already moving quickly, with most major car manufacturers planning for, or having committed, to part or total electrification. We expect the market will beat the Government to its 2040 ambition but the grid must be low-carbon for a genuinely decarbonised sector.”  

But the Fair Fuel UK campaign group said that banning new diesel and petrol car sales by 2040 will cost trillions to consumers and the economy.

Howard Cox
Howard Cox

Howard Cox, Founder of Fair Fuel UK, said: “It is inevitable that carbon based fuels will be phased out to favour cleaner fuels, but to do it as a cliff edge in 20 years is naïve and ill-thought out.

“Better to phase in new fuel technologies to work effectively and be supported, without a target date to terminate diesel and petrol.

“With several proven solutions to lowering emissions available now, such as retrofitting systems, bulk additives and for the petrol mix of bioethanol to move from e5 to e10, the Minister has missed an opportunity to solve the emissions issue now, fairly and at little cost.

27 July 2017

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