UK Plans to End Sales of New Gas-Powered Cars by 2035

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On Feb. 4, 2020, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an initiative to transition to zero-emission cars by 2035 or earlier. The plan will end the sale of all new cars that use fossil fuels (gas and diesel), including hybrids, and promote production of electric cars.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated, “We want to go further than ever before. That’s why we are bringing forward our already ambitious target to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to tackle climate change and reduce emissions.”

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, stated, “It’s extremely concerning that government has seemingly moved the goalposts for consumers and industry on such a critical issue. With current demand for this still expensive technology still just a fraction of sales, it’s clear that accelerating an already very challenging ambition will take more than industry investment.”

In 2019, electric cars made up less than 2% of the UK car market. Hybrid cars, which will also be banned, made up about 8%.

Norway and the Netherlands plan to ban fossil fuel cars by 2025, India and Germany by 2030, and France by 2040.

The UK car ban is part of an overall goal for the country to have net zero emissions by 2050.

Explore what the 2020 presidential candidates think about whether the United States should rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

Discussion Questions – Things to Think About
1. Is banning gas-powered cars an effective action against climate change? Why or why not?

2. Should governments promote the use of alternative energies in other consumer areas such as solar panels on homes? Explain your answer.

3. What other actions could countries take to meet net zero emissions goals? Explain your answer.


Geert de Clercq, “France to Uphold Ban on Sale of Fossil Fuel Cars by 2040,”, June 11, 2019

Paul A. Eisenstein, “These Countries Want to Ban All Vehicles That Run on Gas or Diesel,”, July 10, 2017

Rachel Elbaum and Reuters, “Britain to Ban the Sale of New Gas, Diesel and Hybrid Cars from 2035,”, Feb. 4, 2020, “PM Launches UN Climate Summit in the UK,”, Feb. 4, 2020

Charles Riley, “The UK Just Gave the Car Industry 15 Years to Ditch Fossil Fuels,”, Feb. 4, 2020