Due to its particularly high levels of Nitrogen oxide, diesel has been in the firing line for quite some time. ULSD (Ultra-Low Sulphur Diesel), the fuel which we purchase at the pumps, appeared to be the solution when it was launched in Hong Kong back in 2000, as it was a cleaner burning fuel, that weighed in significantly lower than the 50ppm that was requested off it. However, thanks to the NO emissions and the particularly damaging impacts it is having on the British environment, the decision was made by the UK government, to cease the sales of all ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles by 20440. This means no new diesel or petrol cars will be sold after 20 years’ time. Due to this massive development, EVs (electric vehicles) saw a major increase in sales — four thousand per month in 2017. This figure is astounding consider four years previously there were only 3,500 annually.
With the British government rolling out their plans to halt the production, and the fact we all now have a renewed sense of environmental conscience, what does the future hold for the traditional fuel forms and is there day in the sun gone? Here, with Lookers, who offer car service plans, we examine the future of fuel.
The cost of fuel, for the past number of years, has existed as a major concern for every driver in the UK. Unlike are transatlantic cousins, we are failing to see a fall in the cost of fuel, and it is causing British families to really feel the pinch — often the most expensive part of the week when they roll up at the pumps.
Thanks to, what now feels like centuries old, Brexit negotiations and the UAE conflict, combined with the issue of emissions, fuel prices here in the UK have failed to level off for quite a considerable period of time now. The RAC have been monitoring these developments for the past few years. One of their fuel spokesmen Simon Williams commented, “both petrol and diesel are now at their highest points for man three years now, which is bound to be making a dent in household budgets”.
The RAC among other outlets and industry specialists have been campaigning for supermarkets to help drive down the price at the pumps, however, recent reports have suggested that fuel prices in the UK haven’t dropped a single penny in the past three months. The RAC noted that supermarkets account for 45 per cent of all the fuel sold in the UK, and neither Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, or Morrisons have reduced prices since February 21st, 2019. Motoring Research similarly noted, that it is alarming when the major supermarkets, who people trust to offer value for money in regard to fuel, are being undercut by small retailers.
Speculation on Fuel Prices
Evidently the fuel prices will continue to fluctuate as the Brexit negotiations continue, but what does the end point spell for the UK? In January 2016, fuel prices fell to their lowest price since the financial crisis, after OPEC took the decision to increase the level of domestic fuel production in the UK. If the UK can increase their level of indigenous fuel production, then there might not be much concern in the way of costs. However, 38 per cent of the UK’s fuel is imported, placing considerable concerns in the mind of numerous critics throughout the country. After the Brexit vote, the value of the pound dropped immediately, 20 per cent against that of the dollar, causing fuel prices to rise by around 10 pence a litre. However, at this present moment in time, all we can do is speculate in relation to what will happen following the conclusion of the negotiations.
Following the major push on their development and since the exact point since we started to witness an increased presence of EVs on our roads, they have been the subject of major criticism, most of which hinged around the fact there wasn’t enough charging points. Thankfully, the combination of an increase in charging destinations throughout the UK, initiated by approximately 20 installation companies, and the development of the more achievable transitioning hybrid vehicles, the popularity has boomed.
Introduction of Rapid Charging Points
Since the start of 2018, BP have been placing a major emphasis on the introduction of ‘rapid’ charging points in their fuel stations. Tracing the route of major rivals Royal Dutch Shell, who invested heavily in the battery-powered vehicle market, BP is investing £3 million in Freewire Technologies, a US firm, who will provide charging units on their forecourts. These chargers will provide a half an hour boost and will only take up the same space as a motorcycle.
Through a multi-million-pound deal signed in 2017, InstaVolt are ensuring the installation of more than 3,000 charging points throughout the UK, including on the aforementioned forecourts. There have been further suggestions made that an instant charge should soon be available — charging an EV battery in the same time it would take to fill up an ICE vehicle with fuel.
BP Downstream’s Chief Executive Tufan Erginbilgic insinuated: “EV charging will undoubtedly become an important part of our business, but customer demand and the technologies available are still evolving.”
Growth in EV Market.. The end of fuel?
2018 was a record year for EV’s here in the UK, with almost 60,000 plug-ins being sold during the 12-month period from January to December. These figures are still dwarfed by the developments being made in China, who are making incredible inroads in terms of EVs on their highways. Although companies such as BP are keen to see significant growth in the EV market, they hope that it doesn’t seriously destruct the oil industry.