30 April 2021

Fuel and diesel ban: What does it mean for the bulk logistics industry?

The 26th of July 2017 marked a political milestone, with the UK shocked by the government’s announcement abolishing the sale of new petrol, diesel cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs).

Originally set for 2040, the legislation has now been brought forward to 2030 in an attempt to tackle Britain’s problem with pollution. The 2030 ban, under the government’s green plan, will have a significant impact across several industries, from automotive to manufacturing, fleet and leasing to fuel logistics distribution.

Here, we explore the possible impacts this legislation could have on the fuel logistics industry and the key considerations which need to be taken now ahead of the 2030 ban.

Acting now

Under government plans, the ban on selling new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars in the UK has been brought forward from 2040 to 2030. While new cars and vans powered wholly by petrol and diesel will not be sold in the UK from 2030, some hybrid vehicles will still be allowed up until 2035.

While these timelines may appear some time away, it is imperative that the fuel logistics industry look to act now in preparation for the ban on these vehicles, particularly those businesses with large fleets of traditionally fuelled cars and vans.

Key challenges and considerations for the fuel logistics industry include:

  • Assessing numbers of traditionally fuelled vehicles within large fleets which need replacement.
  • The cost and implementation of bringing in electric fleets.
  • Consideration of continuing using existing hybrid cars and vans until 2035.

Electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure

The announcement has significant implications for fleet operators, particularly those that are considering what the move to electric means for their fleet.

The environmental and financial benefits associated with transitioning to electric vehicles is apparent. However, for those fleet operators looking to fast-track the transition to electric vehicle fleets by 2030, there are still concerns around the support required for an EV infrastructure from the government.

Not only will the transition require careful planning, but there have also been widespread concerns about barriers to the EV rollout due to a lack of on-street charge points and government funding to support such a widespread EV infrastructure.

Denise Beedell, Logistics UK policy manager for Vans and Urban, said: “While the logistics industry remains fully committed to transitioning to zero-emission vehicles, with many operators already starting this process, an industry-wide adoption of the policy will only be possible if the government takes urgent action to support the reinforcement of power supply infrastructure required to run electric fleets, as well as introducing a fairer and more equitable way of funding grid reinforcements and energy upgrades.”


While the momentum throughout the fuel logistics industry is shifting towards EV fleets ahead of the UK ban, there are still concerns over the costs involved if a logistics company doesn’t have the sufficient energy supply to power its electric vehicle fleet.

Fears over the potential for companies to have to pay for local electricity hub upgrades in addition to the premium cost involved to buy electric vehicles, which are more expensive than conventionally powered vehicles, are growing concerns. Financial unease is an issue that the government will need to address and take action in order to reduce the likelihood of these additional expenses.

Adopt fuel logistics optimisation

Whatever 2030 brings, it’s clear that the fuel logistics businesses that thrive will be those who are agile and flexible in their operational approach. Mobile computing technology and digitisation can help fuel distributors maximise efficiencies and adapt to unexpected change. 

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