The Future Of Gas and Diesel Cars: Q&A

Fossil fuel powered cars are on borrowed time. That much is clear from a recent round of declarations by governments worldwide. In France and the UK, gas and diesel cars will be a thing of the past by 2040. Germany is planning to phase these cars out by 2030, and other countries such as Norway, are aiming to make it even sooner by going all-electric within the next decade.

It may well be the case that you have bought your last fossil fuel powered car. Even if the environment is not a particular motivation for you, automotive manufacturers are looking at decisions such as the above and realising they need to adapt to ensure market share. For example, Volvo – based in environmentally-conscious Sweden – have stated that as of 2019, they will only be making electric or hybrid cars.

For drivers, this obviously has implications. With careful driving, a car can last for a decade or even longer. In fact, the average age of cars on the road right now is believed to be just over 11 years old. So if you currently drive a fossil fuel car, you may well have questions as to how the coming changes will affect you.

“Do I Need To Be Looking For A New Car?”

The simplest answer to the above is: not necessarily, but as you might have guessed, the truth is a bit more nuanced than a simple yes/no. You should be thinking about your next car, as that may well be the one that takes you into the period when fossil fuel cars are off the road.

A more pressing question for the moment is probably: should I book a service? It’s likely that drivers of higher-polluting cars will face fines or restrictions on where they can drive in the next few years, so you need to ensure your car is performing well on emissions tests with regular maintenance.

“Which Cars Should I Be Looking At?”

The truth is, unless you’re buying a new car today or in the next few months, it’s best to wait and see. Manufacturers will be unveiling new, greener models as the required changes to the market take place. Once they have done that, it will be easier to make an informed choice about your future driving requirements.

As for now, a good rule of thumb is to look at manufacturers from countries with strict environmental regulation. French makers like Renault and Peugeot, with their Twizy and iOn models, as well as German and Japanese makers, may be a good place to start. With these countries popularising the shift to greener vehicles, they’re a sound bet for the future.

“So, As Long As My Emissions Are Low, I’m Good For Right Now – Yes?”

Mostly, yes – although it is worth keeping an eye on the news, especially if you work in a city. Some cities are beginning to bar diesel cars from the centres altogether, regardless of age or emissions record.

Additionally, cars with tweaked exhausts to give a better sound may win admiring glances at drag races, but by taking them on the road, you will be breaking noise pollution regulations.

Provided you can avoid these problems, then for the moment there is no need for concern – just be ready to deal with the change when the regulations come to pass in a few years time.

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About Sean Mackay

Sean writes about cars, golf and events going on in British Columbia, Canada. He is also the editor for The Automotive Review – an automotive publication bringing a West Coast flavour to its editorials.

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