What Will Happen To Classic Cars When Petrol Is Banned?

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With the world’s auto manufacturers moving away from fossil fuel and toward electricity, what will happen to classic cars when petrol sales are banned?

As you might already know, several countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom, have recently passed legislation to ban the sale of petrol-based vehicles (both gasoline and diesel) by 2030 - 2040 (depending on the nation). The movement toward electric cars and trucks is designed to help reduce carbon emissions and significantly lower air pollution levels. With governments spending billions to combat and respond to the effects of global warming, it is easy to see how the internal combustion engine has become the pariah of the modern world.

There is nothing that classic car owners can do to keep governments from banning the sale of petrol-based cars. The movement toward more energy-efficient vehicles is sure to decrease demand for gasoline products and will also negatively affect the value of most classic cars.

The rush toward electric-powered vehicles is not going away anytime soon. Even American companies are scrapping the internal combustion engine for more eco-friendly vehicles and are converting their entire lineups to electric. What does this technology change mean for classic car owners? Will petrol still be available? What will happen to the value of classic cars twenty years from now? If petrol is harder to come by and more expensive, won’t that affect the demand for people wanting to restore these older style engines? I mean, why restore something you can’t afford to drive or is illegal to drive?

This article will explore what might be on the horizon for classic car owners. Hopefully, we can provide some answers to your questions and ease any fears about what the future holds.

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What Is the Motivation Behind the Move To Electric Cars?

Most countries involved with the Paris Climate Accord have committed to reducing their dependence on petrol and diesel, thereby lowering their carbon footprints.

The United Kingdom has joined several other countries, like India, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, and France, to limit the sale of new vehicles with ICE engines and hybrids in the next ten to fifteen years. Before you scrap your petrol-based car, remember that this ban is on selling new cars. (Used cars are, at the moment, exempt). This means there will still be plenty of ICE cars and trucks roaming the highways for years to come. That is great news for classic car owners who buy and sell used cars (a classic would qualify as such, likely). The ban on new car sales is mainly symbolic, but eventually, as the years wear on, and attrition takes its toll, you will see fewer gas-powered cars every year until, eventually, governments take steps to phase them out completely. Most estimates indicate that this move is probably about thirty years away.

What Might the Future Look Like?

Here are a few thoughts to ponder.

Countries Will Find Ways to Motivate Consumers Away from Petrol.

As EVs become more prevalent in society, there will be increasing calls for the public to trade in or scrap their older ICE cars. You can expect most countries to institute programs similar to the one the United States instituted to stimulate a slagging car industry a few years ago. The program was labeled “Cash for Clunkers” and allowed customers to receive hefty rebates toward purchasing a new vehicle if they surrendered their older vehicles. These vehicles were not allowed to be rebuilt but were scrapped so they could not drive on the road. It is estimated that more than 700,000 older cars were removed in the few months that the program was in place.

Another method is eliminating tax breaks for certain electric vehicles at a particular time. The effect of this kind of announcement would be to drive consumers to take advantage of the savings before they are discontinued. As the sale of electric cars becomes more mainstream, expect the government to reduce or eliminate tax loopholes so they can continue to have a steady source of income.

One solution to keep people from driving their air-polluting cars is to institute national emission standards. You should expect more states (if you live in the USA) or countries to institute rigorous emissions standards to force more used cars off the roadways. This legislative option includes emission-free zones, where if you drive an ICE, you could get a ticket or find your gas-powered car impounded. While most states will provide exemptions to these laws for classic and antique cars (much like they do presently for registrations), eventually, driving a used gas-powered car in less than fifty years.

Classic Cars Will Become Rarer Items

Eventually, you will see used, and classic cars drive less, and likely, collections will be reserved for museums or for very affluent elites who have the resources to afford them. While there will still be pockets of collectors scattered about, the prevalence of these ancient beasts of the road will be fewer and fewer as the years go by.

The need for petrol stations will decrease as demand for petrol wanes. One might expect facilities to convert from petrol pumping stations to rapid charging areas with advertised pricing and availability. Clients could pull in, plug up and top off their batteries with quick chargers. Convenience stores will have to adapt to the ever-changing technologies to stay open. Many will not make it and will likely end as empty storefronts.

Expect The Classic Car Industry to Wane

There are a lot of body shops and businesses that make their living off of the restoration of classic cars. Expect these companies to continue to offer parts and services but with higher pricing. As shops become fewer and fewer, classic car owners might struggle to hire professional workers to do everything they need for a complete restoration.

Technologies Will Continue to Advance

Electric vehicle science is constantly changing. The replacement price for batteries is exorbitant, but in thirty years, expect them to be smaller and more efficient. Increases in mileage and dependability will help endear these eco-friendly vehicles to the general public. As car technology improves, demand will increase, resulting in more sales. Auto manufacturers are smart enough to see the paradigm shift happening in front of them, which is why they are scrapping the old and ushering in the new.

Technological advances won’t just change new cars, but the scientific community might also find ways to improve the efficiency of ICE cars. Perhaps a fuel additive that allows the carbon emissions to be converted to something less polluting (in a way that the byproduct of hydrogen is water), or adaptive solar-powered kits that will run the engine and move the car down the road with zero carbons. While an adaptive kit that converts a petrol-based classic into a daily driver might seem far-fetched, or even heresy to a purist, for a lot of people who depend on these kinds of cars for their daily drivers - this segment of the public would welcome the technology as long as it was affordable.

While there is always the possibility of a miraculous solution to the environmental crisis, let’s hope that the road for the classic car isn’t filled with too many potholes in the future. In the meantime, if you own a classic, enjoy it while you can because, in another fifty years, you might not be able to.