With the Government planning to ban the sale of petrol and diesel, many drivers are concerned about the lack of charging points for electric vehicles
There has been a lot of controversy lately about diesel and the level of Nitrogen Oxide that it reportedly emits from our vehicles. As a result of the UK government planning to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, the electric vehicle market experienced a record year in sales in 2017, averaging over 4,000 new registrations per month in the UK — a significant increase compared to 2013 figures, which witnessed just 3,500 new registrations over the entire year!
As Brits are encouraged by the UK government to start their transition to electric and hybrid vehicles, what does this mean for traditional fuel sources? Lookers used cars, explore what the future of fuel looks like for the UK:
The fluctuation of fuel prices
The yo-yo affair of fuel prices across the UK has been reported by RAC, showing that many factors are likely to influence the economic state of fuel, such as Brexit and harmful emissions to UAE conflict. Fuel prices haven’t been steady for some time now and a plan to eliminate petrol and diesel cars will not help steady the cost of fuel either.
A fuel spokesman named Simon Williams who works for the RAC stated, “both petrol and diesel are now at their highest points for more than three years which is bound to be making a dent in household budgets”.
The RAC and other industry experts have been encouraging supermarkets to cut their fuel prices to make them more affordable. This has been the result of a three year high in the cost of petrol and diesel on UK forecourts.
In 2014, the OPEC decided to increase the level of domestic fuel production in the UK, which led to a price drop to 98p in January 2016 — the lowest price of fuel per litre since the financial crisis in 2009.
Despite this, the UK still heavily relies on imported energy and fuel – around 38% of the UK’s total energy consumption is reliant on imported energy. With the UK still in negotiations over Brexit agreements, fuel prices could continue to experience fluctuations throughout the process, and following Brexit, this begs us to wonder, what will that mean for fuel prices? Could our trading relationships be at risk after Brexit? And, of course, we must also consider how the uncertainty around the value of the pound could affect fuel costs following Brexit.
After the UK voted to leave the European Union, the value of the pound experienced an immediate fall of 20% against the dollar. This resulted in fuel prices to increase by around 10p per litre and experts to raise concern that Brexit could mark the end of cheap fuel in Britain. The combination of higher crude oil prices and the devaluation of the pound mean Britain should expect higher fuel prices to become the norm.
Would we eventually wave goodbye to traditional fuel due to a transition towards electric and hybrid vehicles? The topic of criticism has surrounded the topic of electric cars, since they first launched models onto the automotive market.
The lack of charging points has raised concern for many drivers. In the past 12 months, however, our electric car charging infrastructure has evolved substantially to suit the lifestyles of many drivers. Following in the footsteps of other countries around the globe, such as New Zealand, are rolling out easier-to-find charging stations. The UK has over 20 companies and organisations installing and running nationwide or regional electric car charging networks.
InstaVolt are installing at least another 3,000 rapid charging points across fuel station forecourts across the UK and a multimillion-pound deal was made with ChargePoint back in May 2017. Some researchers have also claimed they could have developed an ‘instantly rechargeable’ method that recharges an electric battery in the same time as it would take to fill a gas tank – a solution to one of the biggest headaches of electric vehicles.
BP have confirmed that they are adding more rapid charging points for electric vehicles into their UK fuel stations within the first few months of 2018. This has stemmed from companies recognising the potential for growth into the battery-powered vehicle market. A decision that follows in the footsteps of their rival, Shell, who have already invested money in several electric car infrastructure companies to install charging points at their service stations. The British oil firm, BP, is also investing $5 million (£3.5 million) in the US firm Freewire Technologies, this is according to The Guardian, which will provide motorbike-sized charging units at forecourts to top up cars in half an hour.
Tufan Erginbilgic, the chief executive of BP Downstream, commented: “EV charging will undoubtedly become an important part of our business, but customer demand and the technologies available are still evolving.”
2017 was a record year globally and not just for the UK. Global figures hit three million for the number of electric vehicles collectively on the roads in November 2017 – with China proving to dominate the market. Whilst oil firms such as BP expect the electric market to continue to rise, they hope the oil demand is not seriously affected – by cutting themselves a slice of the electric vehicle charging cake though, firms are covering their back if traditional oil demand does take a dip in line with the government’s plans to reduce harmful emissions and cut back on crude oil prices.
In the near future, the price of fuel looks yet to remain uncertain. Remaining certain however is that both the high fuel prices and attempts to improve air quality in the UK will have a positive impact on the EV market, with success forecast to continue to surge in the years leading up to 2040.
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