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UK Considers Banning New Hybrid Cars by 2040

Pixabay/Hermann

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove is pushing for his country to ban sales of new hybrid vehicles by 2040, as part of a Road to Zero plan that is being “heatedly discussed” within government, The Guardian reports.

Ministers have been battling privately over whether or not to ban hybrids to strengthen the government’s policy of banning new diesel vehicles in 22 years’ time,” the paper states, citing an earlier report in the Financial Times. “The environment secretary is in favour, as is the business secretary, Greg Clark, but the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, is opposed.”

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While hybrid sales “dwarf those of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles,” the paper adds, they “emit more pollution because they are still overwhelmingly reliant on burning oil.” The plan would mean the end for models like the Toyota Prius, leaving the UK auto market open to 100% electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The plan is attracting pushback from inside and outside government, with a Department for Transport spokesperson declaring it “categorically untrue that government is planning to ban the sale of hybrid cars in the UK by 2040.”

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said it didn’t appreciate responding to a policy communicated through leaks. “Unrealistic targets and misleading messaging on bans will only undermine our efforts to realize this future, confusing consumers, and wreaking havoc on the new car market and the thousands of jobs it supports,” said CEO Mike Hawes. “We cannot support ambition levels which do not appreciate how industry, the consumer, or the market operate, and which are based neither on fact nor substance.”

Aston University automotive specialist Prof. David Bailey told The Guardian that EVs will likely hit critical mass in the 2020s. Until then, “we will see a quicker shift into hybrid technology which is set to become the mainstream.”