A looming British ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars was thrown into chaos after Brussels watered down its own restrictions amid opposition from the German auto industry . Experts and politicians warned that British rules due to take effect in 2030 are untenable following the European climbdown, which will allow internal combustion engines as long as they burn carbon-neutral petrol alternatives. The European Union will now ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2035 but permit these so-called e-fuels following a backroom compromise forced on it by the German authorities and signed off. Critics of the Government’s net zero plans seized on the European Union’s decision as evidence that a total policy rethink is needed, while campaigners including Greenpeace have said that it could slow down electric vehicle adoption. Sources suggested that Whitehall was considering following the Commission’s lead by also allowing an e-fuel exemption. New hybrids will still be allowed until 2035, at which point the UK will only permit fully electric cars and other zero-emission vehicles, such as those which burn hydrogen. The EU’s e-fuel exemption will allow a synthetic alternative to petrol which is made by mixing carbon dioxide captured from the air with hydrogen obtained by splitting water molecules using renewable energy. A technology in its infancy which requires lots of investment to perfect. This is expected to be far more expensive than petrol, meaning it will initially benefit high-end carmakers whose customers will not be put off by the costs involved. So once again the environment will suffer from incompetent governmental mismanagement of countries who make “vote winning” statements and then see that the issue needs serious “expert” research into what can be realistically implemented.

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