Lib Dems pledge to reinstate 2030 petrol and diesel car ban, tackle unfair fuel costs and install more EV chargers

Ed Davey and a busy road

Ed Davey unveiled the Lib Dem manifesto earlier today

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 10/06/2024

- 13:04

Updated: 10/06/2024

- 16:10

Sir Ed Davey's party is looking to help drivers with the cost of motoring

Motorists have received the first backing in the General Election campaign as the Lib Dems pledge to make EV charging more accessible, cut unfair costs and reinstate the 2030 deadline to ban petrol and diesel car sales.

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to make a number of major changes to the NHS, with lofty plans to slash hospital waiting times and boost payments for carers.

The party are also focusing on the future of transport and how to get motorists to vote through policies affecting electric vehicles, car insurance and fuel prices.

Drivers will be backed by the Lib Dems aiming to make it "easy and cheap" to charge electric vehicles with more charging points, including residential on-street points and ultra-fast chargers at service stations.

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Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak at the Nissan plant

Rishi Sunak changed the date to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles in September last year


New charging points will also be supported with an upgraded National Grid and a "step-change in local grid capacity", boosting the 63,000 public chargers already in place around the UK.

Sir Ed Davey's party has also appealed to the EV sector by pledging to equalise VAT on public charging, removing the so-called "pavement tax".

This will see the VAT rate on public charging slashed to five per cent, from 20 per cent, to match the rate applied to home chargers, ensuring all drivers pay fair prices when charging.

Chargepoint operators will be required to ensure all devices are accessible with a bank card, following criticism that drivers were being forced to combine several payment methods just to charge in public.

Another of the headline pledges from the Liberal Democrats is to reinstate the original 2030 target to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak moved the deadline to 2035 last September to help motorists switch to electric cars while also allowing for costs to fall, chargers to become more widespread and attitudes to change.

However, this was met with criticism from the industry which had seen the UK as one of the more progressive nations to back the transition to electric vehicles, compared to the European Union which had a target of 2035.

The manifesto outlined that the Lib Dems, if successful in the upcoming July 4 General Election, would re-introduce the Plug-in Car Grant for electric vehicles.

In June 2022, the Government said it was ending the financial incentive for electric cars after supporting the sale of almost half a million EVs since its introduction.

While grants are still available for wheelchair accessible vehicles, motorcycles, vans, trucks and taxis, there is no formal incentive from the Government to save on the upfront price of an EV.

Other manifesto pledges included protecting motorists from "rip-offs", unfair car insurance costs and petrol and diesel prices.

Recent data from the RAC found that the UK had the most expensive diesel in Europe, while also having comparatively expensive petrol - calling it a "dubious honour" for the nation.


Electric car charging

The Lib Dems will roll out new charging stations


The Liberal Democrats will also aim to give more of the roads budget to local councils to maintain existing roads and cycleways, while also targeting the repair of potholes.

It comes as the Pothole Partnership called on political parties to help all road users with safety issues by pledging more funding to repair pothole-laden streets across England.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey confirmed that all manifesto pledges would be fully costed, adding that he understands why voters may feel disenfranchised.

Unveiling the manifesto earlier today in Central London, the party leader said the manifesto would improve Britain and "win the change our country desperately needs".

In reaction to the Liberal Democrats manifesto and their announcements on transport, Matt Finch, UK Policy Manager at Transport & Environment, said: "These are some solid, well thought through commitments from the Liberal Democrats.

"The Lib Dems have also seen that an upgraded national electricity grid comes hand in hand with improving the nation's charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

"Ensuring that both are in place will help families feel more comfortable in accessing this essential technology that will help eliminate emissions from road transport."

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