Many people believe that an outright ban on vehicles that use petrol or diesel will result in less pollution. As a result, the United Kingdom plans to ensure that all new vehicles are at a zero emission standard by the year 2040.
As reported by the BBC, the ban on these specific types of transport vehicles is due to a few reasons. Chief among them being poor air quality, resulting in roughly 40,000 premature deaths per year. This in turn placed the British government in a position where they had to come up with a plan to try and lower the high levels of nitrogen dioxide — one of the hazardous gases emitted by vehicles.
While it may sound like the ban covers every car that makes you fill up at the pump, that simply isn’t the case. Hybrids, a car that can use both gas and electric forms of energy, will not be included in the plans.
The British government believes that the ban would effectively remove 15,000 of the most pollution prone diesel and petrol vehicles in the form of a car scrap scheme. This means that the worst of the bunch could be taken off the road in as little as one years time. However, in order to make this initiative an attractive one (and one that would see widespread adoption), drivers would be given £8,000 (~$10,351 USD) to allow them to purchase a more environmentally friendly vehicle. The total cost of the entire campaign would amount to roughly £110m (~ $142.3 million USD).
While the entire project is great for the environment, the overall impact to the planet will be incremental. Looking at it on a macro level, it’s estimated that the car scrap plan could help reduce gas emissions by a mere 0.02%.
Despite the low reduction in gas emissions, an additional plan would involve the implementation of a clean air zone (CAZ) in the most polluted towns and cities. This would have the power to lower emissions by blocking certain vehicles from going into the zone or imposing a daily tariff on drivers of these specific vehicles. This means that someone would either need to pay to use a specific car type while being in the CAZ, or they wouldn’t be allowed to drive in the CAZ at all. However, all signs point to the government not wanting to impose this, despite it having the potential to reduce emissions by around 18%.
Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that at least in the United Kingdom, the future of both diesel and petrol powered vehicles is not entirely certain.
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