In a combat to fight a growing air pollution crisis, Britain announced in July this year that sales of new diesel and petrol cars and vans would reach the end of the road by 2040.

These plans follow France’s commitment to take polluting vehicles off the road as a step to Europe’s push to curb emissions and fight climate change by promoting electric cars.

Car manufacturers are also taking action, with Volvo recently saying that it would phase out the internal combustion engine in the coming years and BMW choosing to build an electric version of its popular Mini car in Britain.

However, this shift towards electric vehicles is not instant, but rather a gradual one set by Britain. Britain’s new clean air strategy, calls for the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles to end by 2040.

Government has also said that it will make £255 million available for local governments to take short-term action, such as modifying buses, to reduce air pollution.

“It is important that we all gear up for a significant change which deals not just with the problems to health caused by emissions, but the broader problems caused in terms of accelerating climate change,” says Michael Gove, Environment Secretary.

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling promised a “green revolution in transport,” adding that the government wanted nearly every car and van on Britain’s roads to have zero emissions by 2050.

Cars generally have a lifespan of roughly 15 years, so even if Britain follows through with its target, conventional engines are likely to be on the country’s roads more than a decade later.

Elsewhere, China is also eyed the eventual ban of petrol and diesel vehicles. The world’s largest car market is currently studying a move to eventually ban combustion engine cars.

“Some countries have made a timeline for when to stop the production and sales of traditional fuel cars,” said industry vice-minister Xin Guobin.

“The ministry has also started relevant research and will make such a timeline with relevant departments. Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry’s development,” he added, predicting “turbulent” times ahead for the auto industry.

Were China to go-ahead and provide such a deadline, it would greatly aid efforts to end the reign of the internal combustion engine.

China has the largest automobile manufacturing base in the world — producing more than 28 million vehicles overall in 2016.

Also read: Toyota Mirai: Everything you need to know about the hydrogen car


Image source: Richard Nelson

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