More than half of in-market buyers disagree with 2030 petrol and diesel car ban

Petrol and diesel car ban

This is the latest report in a series of weekly updates for industry colleagues from Rachael Prasher, managing director of What Car? and Haymarket Automotive. Quoted poll data is from more than 7700 users.

Last week’s Government announcement to bring forward the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030 and end hybrid sales by 2035 caused a stir for both the automotive industry and consumers. 

To move the goalposts to within the decade is ambitious, but there remain important questions to answer. Crucially, are consumers willing and able to make the switch?  

Our weekly industry research of 7778 in-market buyers found that 59% of buyers disagree with the principle behind the ban. 

This disagreement could stem from a lack of understanding around which vehicles will be impacted. When asked if they understood the details of the ban, 29% of respondents said they did not understand which vehicles will be allowed to be on sale after 2030. 

The Government clearly needs to make more of an effort here, especially around the definitions used to describe which powertrains and models will be allowed to remain on sale. Our previous research found that 20% of buyers do not know the differences between fully electric, plug-in hybrid, self-charging hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles. All these powertrains are impacted by the ban in one way or another. 

Buyers also told us they want better investment in public charging infrastructure from the Government, with 40% of respondents rating it as the single biggest initiative required to increase the uptake of electric vehicles. 

A quarter of buyers suggested that a scrappage-scheme – to encourage motorists to swap older petrol and diesel models for new electric vehicles – would be the best solution. Purchase subsidies, such as the current Plug-in Car Grant (PICG) were seen by 21% of buyers as the biggest driver for electric vehicle uptake. 

Finally, a good metric to measure the success of a policy announcement is to gauge whether it results in an immediate behavioural change. Following the Government announcement, 24% of in-market buyers said they were now more likely to consider an electric vehicle as their next car.

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