Is it still worth buying a petrol or diesel car as the UK's 2035 ban looms?

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Diesel and petrol ban
Fuel cars won’t be banned
Time to switch to electric?
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The countdown is on! From 2035, the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned in the UK - with hybrids also facing the same fate. (Note: the ban was initially set to begin in 2030, but has now been pushed back five years.)

With just years to go, is it still worth buying a fossil fuel car? Or should British drivers make the switch to electric vehicles (EVs)?

Diesel and petrol ban ⛽️

Sound confusing? Here's how it'll all work.

When will petrol & diesel cars be banned in the UK?

The sale of new petrol and diesel cars will stop in 2035.

Petrol and diesel cars will still be available second hand. But with no new models allowed to be sold, they’ll eventually all be replaced by electric cars.

Diesel car sales have been falling for a while

Buying a car with a diesel engine was once thought to be the more environmentally friendly option, due to their lower carbon emissions.

But the tables have since turned, with concerns around higher pollution levels leading many authorities to crack down on diesel cars with higher taxes and surcharges - to the dismay of many drivers, who believed they were making the right choice for the planet.

Hybrid cars will also be banned

Only a few years ago, hybrid vehicles were considered to be the top choice for climate-conscious drivers, thanks to their fuel efficiency and semi-electric technology.

But not anymore! The sale of new hybrid cars will come to an end in 2035. This could be partially due to new research showing that they may not be quite as environmentally friendly as once thought.

Is it time to switch to an electric vehicle?
Is it time to switch to an electric vehicle?
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Fuel cars won’t be banned from the road

Here's something important to understand: the ban is on the sale of fuel cars, not the driving of them.

You’ll still be able to drive fuel cars

The 2035 ban only affects the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. So you won’t find them in showrooms anymore, but they won’t be banned from the roads — and you'll still be able to buy them second hand.

The average petrol or diesel car should last for at least 10 years, so if you bought one today, you’d probably still get your money’s worth. And if you buy one a year of two before the sale, you could drive it into the 2040s.

But if you like to change your car every few years, it’s worth noting that the upcoming ban could cause demand for petrol and diesel cars to go down. So they may start to lose value faster than before.

It’s unlikely that everyone will run out and buy an electric car straight away, though. A lot of UK drivers buy their cars second-hand, so there should be a market for petrol and diesel vehicles for a while.

They’ll probably get cheaper to buy, but they’ll cost more to maintain

The upside of depreciation is that you may soon find that traditional cars are cheaper to buy — especially if you’re buying a used car. But watch out: it may become more expensive to own a petrol or diesel car in the near future.

As they become less common, repairing and servicing a petrol or diesel car could get more expensive, and it may get harder to find replacement parts.

And in the UK, governments and local authorities have already started to increase taxes and charges on petrol and diesel cars, most likely to encourage drivers to switch to EVs. Some London boroughs have even introduced parking surcharges for diesel vehicles!

We could see more of these initiatives put into place as 2035 gets closer. So the true cost of owning a fuel car after the ban is still unknown.

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Time to switch to an electric car?

Current and upcoming initiatives are putting pressure on UK drivers to ditch their traditional cars in favour of an EV.

With all this in mind: is it time to make the leap (and help the planet) by switching to an electric vehicle? Or is it worth waiting it out? There are pros and cons to making the switch.

Electric cars are better for the environment

The 2035 petrol and diesel ban is part of the UK government’s “Green Industrial Revolution” initiative which aims to reduce carbon emissions to “net zero” by 2050.

Petrol and diesel vehicles contribute significantly to our carbon footprint - so by switching to an electric car, you can contribute to the national effort to reduce climate change 🌎

Driving an electric car could save you money
Driving an electric car could save you money

Electric vehicles aren’t accessible to everyone yet

Climate change has emerged as one of the biggest global challenges of today. So in an ideal world, we’d all get electric cars right now.

But the government still has some work to do to prepare for that change. According to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the UK will need 10 times more EV charging points by 2035 if it wants to meet its net zero emissions target.

And while the cost of producing electric vehicles is set to go down in the near future, prices will need to decrease by quite a lot if they’re to be an affordable option for most UK drivers any time soon.

Keep an eye out for incentives, though. Certain car manufacturers are offering attractive discounts on new cars when you trade in an old petrol or diesel. And the government has started an electric vehicle grant scheme, which will reduce the price of some EVs.

Choose a car that meets your needs

There are lots of important factors to consider when it comes to choosing your next car — so it’s important to keep your driving needs in mind.

For example, it might be worth choosing an electric vehicle if you mainly drive short distances, or if you have a good amount of charging points near you.

But a diesel engine might still be more practical if you cover a lot of motorway miles.

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Updated on 3rd April 2023