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Shell CEO suggests a swifter ban on diesel cars in the UK

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On July 5, 2018, industry leaders met in London for Shell Powering Progress Together to discuss this year’s topic: The Future of Mobility: Visions of Transportation in 2040, according to Shell Global.

In response to an audience member’s question, as reported by Energy Voice, Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden expressed his support of the 2040 ban, going so far as to suggest that speeding up the ban could be even more beneficial.

“If you would bring it forward, obviously that would be welcome. I think the UK will have to go at a much higher speed than the speed the rest of the world can go,” van Beurden said, noting that Asia and Africa might have a harder time transitioning away from fossil fuel powered vehicles.

According to reporting by The Guardian in July 2017, “Britain is to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.”

FreightWaves’ Brian Straight wrote, in the same month, that “India, France, Britain and Norway have all put in place goals to stop the sales of gas and diesel cars…at least 10 other countries have set targets for boosting electric car sales.”

ClimateEarth’s CEO James Thornton stated that “A clear policy to move people towards cleaner vehicles by banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans after 2040 is welcome, as is more funding for local authorities.”

Business Insider reports that “such a move would create clarity, change consumer attitudes and make it easier for Shell to make investment decisions going forward.”

Although “The anticipated transition to electric vehicles would reduce demand for petrol and diesel products of energy firms, [and] diminish their petrol station business,” Shell is investing in electric car charging infrastructure as Business Insider noted.

In October 2017, Shell purchased NewMotion, which is the first break into the electric vehicle market. NewMotion maintains 30,000 charging stations in the UK and gives access to thousands more, as Reuters explained.

BP is also doing their part to remain competitive in an increasingly electric market, recently acquiring Chargemaster and its 6,500 charging points around the UK, according to Financial Times.

By 2040, Shell predicts that roughly 25% of vehicles around the world will be electric, while BP believes that, in the same time span, 12 million of the UK’s vehicles will be electric.  

As of right now, 140,000 electric cars are on the road in the UK, with electric vehicle sales making up only 2% of new car sales. Van Beurden acknowledged that electric cars only represented a “tiny proportion” of vehicles on the road.

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