More than twice as many drivers plan to buy a petrol car than an electric one in the next five years as motorists plan to get their hands on unleaded-powered models ahead of the 2030 ban, according to a huge poll of motorists.
Some 22 per cent of a 15,677-strong panel of drivers quizzed by the AA said their next motor will be petrol compared to one in 10 who plan to transition to EVs between now and 2027, despite new car buyers being forced to buy battery-only cars some three years later.
And while 36 per cent of the drivers surveyed currently own a diesel, only 9 per cent intend to buy another oil burner, in what the AA described as a ‘nail in the coffin for diesel cars’.
Petrol demand could stay above electric for years: A poll of 15,000 drivers has found that twice as many plan to buy a petrol car over an EV between now and 2027
The study asked licence holders which fuel type they would choose to buy next between now and 2027 – just three years before the ban on sales of new cars with internal combustion engines (ICE).
Results of the poll have been published as the average UK petrol prices surpassed £1.50-a-litre over the weekend, with both unleaded and diesel prices reaching new record highs on the back of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Yet drivers planning long-term car purchases say they are twice as likely to buy a petrol vehicle next over an EV, with the latter being more expensive to purchase but far cheaper to run.
While the majority of drivers already own a petrol car (58 per cent), compared to just one per cent who drive pure EVs, twice as many motorists say they will choose a petrol model next over a vehicle with batteries and an electric motor.
After petrol, the next most popular fuel choice is hybrid (both conventional and mild-hybrid) at 19 per cent, while demand for plug-in hybrids is the same as diesel (9 per cent).
|Fuel Type||Current Car||Next Car|
|I won’t be changing my car within five years||N/A||12%|
|Source: AA poll of 15,677 drivers|
With the Government’s ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles set to be introduced in 2030, almost one in five (18 per cent) drivers are torn about their next purchase, adding to the suggestion that there isn’t enough public confidence in EVs and the charging infrastructure for many to make the transition.
The findings also hint at a potential slowdown in battery car uptake when compared to recent sales data.
Last year, EVs made up 11.6 per cent of all new cars registered in the UK – compared to 6.6 per cent in 2020.
New EV sales outsold diesels (both conventional and mild-hybrid diesels) last month, and the study found that just one in four current diesel owners will get another.
But the AA said there need to be the ‘right incentives’ to switch to EVs in place to keep consumer confidence high before the 2030 ban on sales of new ICE models.
If so, the motoring group says there is ‘considerable scope’ for EV’s to become the most popular drivetrain when people change their current car.
Some 22% of the licence holders surveyed by the AA said they will buy a petrol car in the next 5 years. That compares to 10% whose next vehicle will be electric
The study follows the Government’s decision in December to slash the plug-in car grant for a second time in nine months and ahead of the close of the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme – offering £350 towards the installation of a home charge point – for most Britons at the end of March.
It also comes just weeks after the Department for Transport published public charging infrastructure figures for 2021 that showed the network falling behind current EV uptake and highlighting a regional disparity in terms of availability.
The number of public charge points for electric vehicles grew 37 per cent last year, though a North-South divide is expanding in terms of which areas have the worst and best access to devices, according to data published by the DfT in January.
An additional 7,600 new charger installations were added to the country’s network over the 12 months, taking the total to 28,375 publicly-accessible plug-in points.
However, the data shows that London has benefitted from a much faster expansion of its charging infrastructure than any other region, with 102 devices per 100,000 of its population, while areas like the North West have just 24 per 100,000 people.
There are also growing concerns that infrastructure is failing to keep pace with the number of electric cars entering the road, with one new public device added for every 24 zero-emission vehicle registered last year.
This chart shows the growth in the UK’s public charging infrastructure in the last 7 years. An additional 7,600 new charger installations were added to the UK network in 2021
This data shows the number of total public charging devices in each region per 100k people. It shows that London is miles ahead of the rest of the country in terms of availability
Commenting on the results of the study, Edmund King, AA president, said the AA is doing its part to boost public confidence in electric cars by adding more EV-qualified technicians to its recovery team
‘One in ten drivers saying they will actively choose an electric vehicle for their next car is a great step towards cleaning up the UK’s road based transport system,’ he said.
‘The electric revolution is in good health, but with a large group of drivers unsure which drivetrain to choose next, we know that some drivers need help and reassurance that, should they switch, the AA will be able to help them throughout their ownership.
Which EVs are currently eligible for the Gov’s £1,500 plug-in grant?
The Government slashed both the value and eligibility for the Plug-in Car Grant – a taxpayer-funded incentive designed to cut the cost of relatively expensive electric vehicles (EVs) – in December 2021.
Originally launched in 2011, the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) offered up to £5,000 off the price of a new EV.
But a decade later, transport ministers have bludgeoned the value of the subsidy to just £1,500 and capped its availability to models priced up to a maximum of £32,000 – down from £35,000 previously.
This means all expensive models from the likes of Tesla, Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Jaguar are all priced out of the scheme.
Since it was scaled back at the end of December 2021, only 24 models on sale qualify for the £1,500 subsidy.
‘As the UK’s number one for EVs, with more EV-trained patrols than anyone else, we’re giving power to electric drivers so potential owners or a long standing EV drivers, can trust us to support them throughout their electric dream.’
The results of the AA’s study mimicked findings from a similar piece of research carried out by Close Brother Motor Finance in December.
Its poll of 1,500 motorists found that petrol remains the number one choice of car for UK drivers in 2022, despite the upcoming ban on petrol and diesel vehicles.
Its survey found that almost a third (30 per cent) of drivers still prefer to purchase a petrol vehicle as their next car – which is 8 percentage points higher than when they polled motorists a year earlier.
Some 18 per cent told the finance company they would choose to go electric with their next car.
Close Brothers Motor Finance also found that more women than men would stick to petrol, at 31 per cent versus 29 per cent respectively.
Conversely, electric cars are more popular with men, 22 per cent of whom would choose one compared with just 14 per cent of women.
Director, Seán Kemple, said: ‘The Government’s ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars is fast approaching – just eight years away. But at what should be a time for motorists to transition and plug into electric, they’re in fact moving further away.
‘Significant concerns remain, and these must be addressed if we are to see more motorists making the switch. We are still languishing in the tens of thousands of much needed electric car charging points – we need to get to two million to meet the ambitious 2030 goals.
‘Coupled with the Government cutting grants – the second time in just one year – for electric car buyers, the industry is at risk of not going in the right direction.’
Studies have suggested that new EVs will have price parity with petrol and diesel cars by 2026, which would likely influence a more rapid shit to battery cars than the AA and Close Brother Motor Finance studies predict.
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