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London — A group of moderate UK politicians, making up around a third of the ruling Conservative party, has backed calls by green groups for the government to bring forward a ban on sales of new gasoline and diesel vehicles by five years to 2030.

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Sales of conventional cars should be phased out by 2030 in order to boost investment in electric vehicles and public charging networks as part of green recovery policies, the One Nation Conservatives group said in a report Aug. 13.

In February, the UK government launched a consultation on bringing forward its planned end to the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars and vans by five years to 2035. It said the ban would also now include sales of both hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

Since then, the government has outlined plans to "build back better" from the coronavirus pandemic and is seeking views on bringing forward the UK's EV switchover to 2035 or possibly earlier.

The One Nation group said it is also calling for the government to mandate EV charging points as standard in new homes.

"The coronavirus pandemic has shown that we can achieve a great deal in a very short time when circumstances dictate that we must," Member of Parliament Ruth Edwards said in the report. "This nearer end-date will provide the catalyst to ensure that the roll-out of EVs gets the focus and investment it needs."

UK EV sales

The electric car market is growing quickly in the UK but pure-electric models still accounted for under 5% of total new car registrations in July, according to official figures, slightly lower than the average in western Europe of about 7%.

Global EV sales have shown signs of resilience to the pandemic and, in the UK, new registrations of EVs continue to increase from year-ago levels, while gasoline and diesel registrations sales have fallen sharply during the downturn.

Greenpeace applauded the calls from One Nation, saying the move to ban internal combustion engine car sales in 2030 would help cut more carbon than "any other plausible action over the next decade," according to a statement quoting Greenpeace UK policy director Doug Parr.

"Going for 2030 is also the best way to ensure that the UK's car industry has a strong and secure future. Other countries, such as Germany have already put their foot down in an attempt to dominate electric car production," Parr said.

Europe's third-biggest oil consumer after Germany and France, the UK market for road fuels amounts to about 35 million mt/year, equivalent to just under 45 billion liters. Sales of gasoline currently represent about 35% of road transport demand, while sales of diesel represent 65% of total demand.