From 2030 the UK will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, whilst plug-in hybrids will continue to be sold until 2035. What does this mean for fossil fuels?
All is not lost. Although the sale of new internal combustion engines will cease to be sold in the UK from 2030, there are currently no restrictions on the sale of used performance and classic cars. Although the UK government has an overall goal of eliminating all CO2 emissions by 2050, it gives us optimistic petrol-heads plenty of time for the development of synthetic fuels enabling us to continue enjoying our passion.
Last year (2021) in the UK over 300,000 Electric and Plug-In hybrid cars were sold combined, recording the largest sales record to date. Although declining, more than 1.2 million petrol and diesel cars were registered on the roads meaning there is still a long way to go before eliminating petrol and diesel vehicles from our streets, let alone removing them completely.
There is no doubt that our roads will be dominated by electric vehicles by 2035, but there will still be millions of petrol and diesel vehicles on the UK roads which will still require conventional fuels. There is a small chance of the date being postponed due to the lack of infrastructure supporting electric vehicles, as well as a need for petrol and diesel in the use of aviation, maritime, road freight and agriculture.
With the likes of Shell, BP and Repsol all investing billions of pounds into the development of Biofuels and E-fuels, the modern-day internal combustion engine may still have a chance in decades to come. The benefits of synthetic or ‘E-fuel’ are that we are still able to use the same infrastructure (Vehicles, transportation and fuel stations) as our current fossil fuel equivalents, meaning the potential saving of billions of taxpayers’ money, on the re-development of charging stations. Vehicles will also be able to run without effects, therefor no changes would be needed internally, in contrast to the change between leaded and unleaded fuel. Although, the same scare-mongering tactics are being used.
What’s the difference between Biofuels and E-fuels?
‘Biofuels are produced from a renewable energy source, for example biomass (such as wood or crop waste), oil extracted from plants or from previously used materials such as used cooking oil or animal fats.’ Whereas ‘E-fuels are synthetically produced CO2-neutral liquid fuels based on hydrogen and CO2 which, like biofuels, meet fossil-fuel quality standards and can be blended with regular fuels. This raw material differentiates them from biofuels.’
To conclude, the future of fossil fuels is looking ever bleaker by the day but we do have an alternative that will suit the true, fast becoming scarce petrol head - the development of synthetic fuels.