The British government has pledged to make all new passenger vehicles sold in the country to be zero emission by 2050, but only 19% of UK motorists will currently consider buying electric and hybrid cars. And almost half of all British drivers care more about running costs than car emission levels. Consumers driven by running cost are unlikely to make the switch as diesel and petrol prices continue to fall, with the price of diesel dropping to a six-year low. Cost-conscious consumers are also likely to welcome the launch of uberPOOL, the cab company's low-cost car pool service.
The British government has agreed to make all passenger vehicles sold in the country emission free by 2050, the Department of Transport announced in a statement.
The agreement was reached at the international climate conference in Paris on Thursday.
Britain is one of 13 members of the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Alliance to sign a commitment to promote cleaner motoring and to sharply reduce traffic pollution.
The alliance also includes the US states of California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as Germany, Holland, Norway and Canada's Quebec.
"The UK already has the largest market for ultra-low emission vehicles in the EU, and the fourth largest in the world and today's pledge reaffirms our commitment to ensuring almost every car and van is a zero emission vehicle by 2050," Transport Minister Andrew Jones said.
"Electric cars are greener and cheaper to run and we are making them more affordable, spending more than £600 million between 2015 and 2020 to support the uptake and manufacturing of ultra-low emission vehicles here in the UK," Jones added.
The price of diesel has trailed the recent drop in petrol prices to reach a six-year low, with the average price per litre now at 109.48 pence, the lowest price since December 2009, according to this week's RAC Fuel Watch report.
"As it stands we anticipate a very slight average petrol price reduction in the next two weeks and another 2p a litre coming off diesel, taking the new six-year average low price even lower," Fuel Watch spokesman Simon Williams said on the motoring group's website.
Last week, ASDA cut the price of its unleaded petrol below £1 per litre to 99.7 pence as part of a three-day promotion. The move followed a cut to 98 pence per litre by rival Morrisons, which was linked to customers spending £40 in the supermarket's stores.
The RAC is expecting retailers to pass on recent falls in wholesale oil prices to consumers.
Almost half of all British divers are more concerned about the running costs of their cars, than reducing emission levels and pollution from traffic.
Only 19% of motorists would consider purchasing an electric or hybrid car when buying new, and 47% said running costs are more important than cutting car-related pollution, the RAC's 2015 Report on Motoring reveals.
The motoring group warns that the government's plans to only make pure electric cars exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) in 2017 will dampen demand for ultra-low carbon cars, resulting in more pollution.
"As annual running costs play a significant part in the choice of a new vehicle, the removal of any VED benefit from running ultra-low carbon vehicles, other than a pure electric vehicle, is bound to have an effect when motorists are weighing up the options," RAC's chief engineer David Bizley said.
Cab service Uber launched uberPOOL on Friday, with fares from Clapham Common to Shoreditch in East London expected to be around £10. A trip to Soho from Heathrow Airport could cost as little as £30, the Evening Standard reports.
The company's UK boss told Sky News that the car pool scheme will help cut congestion in the capital.
Uber customers will have to share the car with another passenger by selecting uberPOOL on the app and a 25% discount from Uber's most affordable option will apply, even if the customer does not end up sharing the cab with anyone else.
The service is already available in 15 cities globally, including Chicago, New York, Washington, Paris and Shanghai.
© M2 Bespoke 2015