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Net zero plans could see cost of running a car rise by £100 a year

·Contributor
·3-min read
The UK government is looking to introduce a carbon reduction scheme that could increase the cost of gas and petrol in a bid to decarbonise the economy. Photo: A Perez Meca/Europa Press via Getty Images
The UK government is looking to introduce a carbon reduction scheme that could increase the cost of gas and petrol in a bid to decarbonise the economy. Photo: A Perez Meca/Europa Press via Getty Images

The average cost of running a car could rise by as much as £100 ($138) a year due to new proposals drawn up by ministers to reduce carbon emissions.

According to the Times, the UK government is looking to introduce a carbon reduction scheme that could increase the cost of gas and petrol in a bid to decarbonise the economy.

Under the new plans, the average cost of running a petrol car could rise by between £30 to more than £100 annually, and the average gas bill could increase by between £80 and £170 a year depending on the “carbon price” set. The higher end of the range of the increased gas bill is an average increase of almost a third.

Prime minister Boris Johnson is set to meet with chancellor Rishi Sunak, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, next week to discuss the scheme.

The programme could be launched as soon as next year, the Times said, as the government aims to meet its legal commitment to reduce emissions in 2030 by at least 68% compared with 1990 levels. It has also vowed to cut this further to 78% by 2035.

However, the newspaper reported that the PM does not want to include petrol in the scheme due to concerns that it would penalise British motorists.

The sale of new petrol and diesel cars has already been banned by 2030 in an attempt to bolster the electric car market in the UK and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050.

The move will not apply to some hybrid cars which use a mixture of electric and fossil fuel propulsion, which could still be sold until 2035.

Read more: UK expected to ban new petrol and diesel cars from 2030

A consultation for a fossil fuel emissions trading scheme will begin before the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow in November, when world leaders will gather to agree and commit to sweeping international action to tackle climate change and secure the future of the planet for generations to come.

The conference, which is being held between 1 and 12 November, will be the largest summit the UK has ever hosted. It will have dozens of world leaders in attendance and bring together representatives from nearly 200 countries, including experts and campaigners.

It was originally scheduled for November 2020 but was delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has been described as the most significant climate event since the global Paris Agreement was secured in 2015.

Jill Duggan, executive director at Environmental Defence Fund Europe, said carbon pricing could be a useful mechanism to incentivise good behaviour but it was critical that consumers did not face spiralling bills.

“Depending on how the system is set up, it does have an incentivising effect and also has the benefit of flexibility,” she said. “It is the kind of policy we are going to need if we are to keep to our net-zero ambitions.”

Watch: Countdown to COP26: Four months to go

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