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Britain to Ban Gasoline- and Diesel-Powered Vehicles

Country joins France in shift away from the internal-combustion engine

LONDON -- Britain is banning the sale of new gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles, starting in 2040.

The country is making the move to address air pollution, according to Reuters. It joins France, which announced in early July its own plan to ban sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles by 2040 and shift toward electric cars and trucks. Several cities, including Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens, have pledged to ban diesel-powered vehicles from their city centers by 2025 to address smog problems.

Britain’s government has been pressured to target air pollution after losing related cases in court, Reuters reported. Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives party promised to make "almost every car and van" a zero-emission vehicle by 2050.

In an interview with BBC Radio, Michael Gove, Britain’s environment minister, said, "There should be no new diesel or petrol vehicles by 2040." Hybrid vehicles, which have an electric and internal-combustion engine, would not be included in the ban.

Today, less than 5% of new vehicle registrations in Britain are electric vehicles (EVs), according to Reuters. Faster adoption has been stymied by EVs’ higher cost relative to conventional vehicles and the limited state of the charging infrastructure.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, warned that the United Kingdom’s automotive industry could suffer if the government does not give it enough time to adjust to the transition. He also pointed out that Britain has only 12,000 public charging stations and would require upgrades to its power infrastructure to handle the greater demand.

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