Something must end if going carbon neutral is the goal.
The auto industry is changing at a faster rate than most realize and automakers are willing to admit. Shareholders need to be reminded that everything is going great in order to keep the stock prices high. But beneath those statements is a lurking reality: the future of private car ownership is in question. The combination of electric vehicles, self-driving, and the need to reduce carbon emissions is forcing automakers to rebrand themselves as "mobility companies." Mobility does not necessarily imply one owning a vehicle, but rather just utilizing its (shared) services. If you felt it was radical for some major global cities to consider banning inner-city private vehicles then just wait. The United Kingdom may take this several steps further and other countries could follow suit.
First reported by The Truth About Cars, the UK parliament's Science and Technology Select Committee, whose members come from all parties, has issued a new report stating that if the United Kingdom is to reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, private vehicle ownership must come to an end.
It does not matter whether one owns an electric vehicle, plug-in hybrid, or any other vehicle with an environmentally-friendly powertrain. All will be banned, assuming these measure are adopted as official government policy. But don't think private ownership will suddenly become illegal the moment the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2050. No, the report goes on to recommend that beginning in 2035, the government should begin banning sales of all conventionally powered vehicles – including hybrids. "The Government should not aim to achieve emissions reductions simply by replacing existing vehicles with lower-emissions versions," the report states. In other words, even EV private ownership must end. The way this committee sees things, even zero-emissions vehicles still produce "substantial" carbon emissions simply by being manufactured.
Eliminating private ownership will obviously dramatically reduce production levels. "In the long-term, widespread personal vehicle ownership therefore does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation." Remember, the committee has merely made a list of recommendations it wants adopted, but nothing guarantees they will be. But the very fact that a government committee in one of the world's major powers, economically and geopolitically, has called for private vehicle ownership to be allowed in only 30 years' time is quite extraordinary. Will other governments take note and make similar recommendations? Time will tell.