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The automotive sector and the Government’s 2040 ban on petrol and diesel cars

The automotive sector faces a rising tide of challenges, from the prospect of rapidly evolving technology such as driverless vehicles, to Government initiatives encouraging drivers to choose cleaner vehicles; the latter of which was reflected again in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget delivered earlier this week, where it was announced that there will be a tax increase on new diesel cars from April.

It’s one of a few measures to geared at persuading drivers to switch to cleaner vehicles. Earlier this year, the Government announced plans to end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040. This plan has been designed to reduce air pollution, and forms part of the drive to encourage drivers to adopt cleaner vehicles.

The response from motorists

The AA-Populus Motoring Panel reveals that around two-thirds (67%) of motorists say the 2040 ban will not affect their car choice ‘for years’. Although the research suggests that motorists do have concerns around the value of their current petrol or diesel cars. 21% of the 18,500 surveyed are worried that their current petrol or diesel vehicle will be worth less because of the government’s announcement.

Only a small minority (8%) say that they would be more likely to buy a new petrol/diesel car now in order to get ahead of the ban. A further 10% say that they are now less likely to purchase a new petrol or diesel vehicle following the announcement.

Things aren’t much different in the second-hand market, with one in 10 (10%) drivers saying that they are more likely to buy a used petrol or diesel car than they were before the announcement, and 6% saying they are now less likely to do so.

But motorists are supportive of measures to combat air pollution. The research shows that three quarters (77%) felt that whilst a long term target is good, more needs to be done to tackle air pollution now. This figure was highest among those aged 65+ (79%).

Only time can tell how the automotive industry will be affected by the Government’s 2040 ban, and indeed other initiatives affecting the automotive sector. For the meantime it seems, drivers aren’t clamouring to change their car choices.

View the full Data Tables here.


This poll asked members of the AA Populus panel about the sale of petrol and diesel cars. Populus received 18,500 responses from AA panel members to its online poll. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.populus.co.uk

Find out more about the AA-Populus Motoring Panel here. Populus’s wide range of Business & Consumer Insight Solutions gives brands in the automotive sector insight into the people who matter most.

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