The UK’s planned ban on sales of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars could start as early as 2032, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.
The government sparked industry concern after it brought the date forward from 2040 to 2035 last week in a bid to hit zero-carbon emission targets.
But the Transport Secretary has now told BBC Radio 5 live that it would happen by 2035, “or even 2032,” adding there would be consultation.
The government is setting out its proposals in the run-up to a United Nations climate summit in November, which is to be hosted in Glasgow.
The event is an annual UN-led gathering set up to assess progress on tackling climate change.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who announced the 2035 date, said at the time that the ban would come even earlier if possible.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We are consulting on a range of possible dates to bring forward the end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans.
“The consultation proposal for this is 2035 – or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible – as well as including hybrids for the first time.”
The UK has set a target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050.
Once the ban comes into effect, only electric or hydrogen cars and vans will be available from brand new.
Hybrid vehicles are now included in the proposals, which were originally announced in July 2017.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “While the government appears to be constantly moving the goalposts forward for ending the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles, drivers should not be worried about opting for a plug in hybrid now.
“They are potentially the perfect stepping stone for those who want to go electric but who have concerns about range as they aren’t as expensive as a battery electric vehicle.
“In deciding what vehicle to purchase next drivers should still consider how it will be used most frequently.
“If that is predominantly motorway driving, then a new cleaner-than-ever diesel is probably the right choice, but if it involves regularly driving into a town or city that will soon be implementing a Clean Air Zone then an electric, plug in hybrid or a petrol are the currently best options.
“However, it should be pointed out that while petrol engines aren’t as harmful to people’s health as most diesels, they generally emit more carbon dioxide and are therefore not as good for the planet.”
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