UK drivers to ditch petrol and diesel cars before 2030 deadline as electric car sales soar

Rush hour traffic in London

Petrol and diesel sales are dwindling, new data has shown

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 10/08/2023

- 15:05

Registrations of new petrol and diesel sales are falling, with strong consumer interest in electric cars

New data has shown that consumers are set to phase out sales of petrol and diesel cars before the Government’s 2030 deadline.

Current trends suggest consumer demand could see electric cars overtake sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2028 and 2029.

According to the New AutoMotive’s Electric Car Count, petrol car registrations fell eight percent in July, while electric cars have grown by 90 percent.

In 2019, petrol accounted for almost two-thirds of new cars, with declining numbers now seeing petrol cars fall below 45 per cent.

Vehicles on a motorway

MG sales make up one in 10 new EVs in 2023.


The number of diesel registrations has also dropped dramatically from the peak of 50 per cent in 2016.

Elon Musk-led Tesla has topped the table for manufacturers with the most electric vehicles registered last month, with the Model Y dominating sales.

MG has seen the biggest growth this year by more than doubling its sales since January, as one in 10 new EVs in 2023 coming from the brand.

Ben Nelmes, chief executive at New AutoMotive, said: “Debate about the Government's 2030 target is starting to look academic.

“Consumers have all but ended the sale of diesel cars already, and are increasingly shunning petrol cars.

"Remarkably, despite a recovery in the car market, sales of petrol cars remain in a long term decline, and are still around half of their pre-pandemic peak.

“Consumers are voting with their wallets and showing that they prefer to go electric.”

He said the “biggest thing” preventing drivers getting an electric car remains the supply of vehicles.

One potential solution to this issue would be for the Government to introduce the ambitious Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, which is set to start in 2024.

Ciara Cook, policy officer at New AutoMotive, highlighted the Electric Van Count data, which saw electric vans make up six per cent of the overall market value.

The number of electric vans registered has increased by 95 per cent, with the overall market growing after a difficult year of sales in 2022.

She said: “Despite pessimism in the press, businesses are still being won over by the running cost savings e-vans bring during a time of increased costs.


A row of electric car chargers

Sales of electric vans and motorbikes are also growing


"The Government must resist calls to weaken the ZEV mandate, which is already looking much too unambitious.

“Without increasing targets, the Government will hurt manufacturers which have excelled in this area, such as British-made Vauxhall."

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