Clas­sics un­der threat from lat­est ‘air qual­ity’ strat­egy

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Mur­ray Scullion

Plans to ban sales of new petrol and diesel ve­hi­cles by 2040 have been re­leased by the Gov­ern­ment. The knock-on ef­fect for clas­sics is that con­ven­tional fuel sta­tions could be phased out long be­fore that date, as buy­ers switch to elec­tri­cally-pow­ered ve­hi­cles.

An­other wor­ry­ing caveat of this new air qual­ity strat­egy, laid out in a paper pub­lished by the Depart­ment for En­vi­ron­ments, Food, and Ru­ral Af­fairs (DE­FRA), is that it gives coun­cils the power to charge ‘older’ ve­hi­cles for en­ter­ing cities. Noth­ing more has been said about this, but the Gov­ern­ment has in­ti­mated that these ex­tra re­stric­tions could work the same way as Lon­don’s T-Charge and Ul­tra Low-Emis­sions Zone – charg­ing up to £10 a day.

One short-term up­turn for the clas­sic car fan is that petrol and diesel car prices may nose­dive.

Alex But­tle, di­rec­tor of car buy­ing com­par­i­son web­site Mo­tor­way. says: ‘New petrol and diesel car val­ues could fall through the floor well be­fore that dead­line – the used car mar­ket will be flooded with own­ers try­ing to dump their cars.’

In last week’s is­sue, we re­ported on a study from the Cen­tre for Eco­nomics and Busi­ness Research that set out guide­lines to re­duce use of petrol and diesel cars. Its au­thor, Pro­fes­sor Dou­glas McWil­liams, says the big­gest fear for clas­sic own­ers could be a lack of petrol sta­tions.

Mark Cun­ning­ham, a man­ager at ac­count­ing, tax and ad­vi­sory prac­tice Blick Rothen­berg echoes those thoughts. He says: ‘Ul­ti­mately we will see “Elec­tric Charg­ing Sta­tions” being run by the cur­rent petrol and diesel sup­pli­ers; they will need to pro­vide fast charg­ing and that is when the tax regime will change.’

Robert John­son, part­ner at law firm Healys LLP, won­ders how the pro­posed ban on petrol and diesel cars will im­pact on the clas­sic car in­dus­try. ‘Could this lead to a new tax on cars that are cur­rently not sub­ject to the cur­rent tax regime, such as clas­sic cars? This could re­sult in lengthy le­gal chal­lenges against the UK Gov­ern­ment,’ he says.

Clas­sic car val­ues may fall, but where would you buy the fuel to run them?

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