Electric cars are vital, but we must look at other fuels to avoid putting climate targets at risk
'Groupthink' over the drive to switch to electric cars could put climate targets at risk because the Government is ignoring the potential of sustainable fuels, MPs have warned. Ministers have come under fire for shunning recommendations in a report by the Commons' transport committee for more green fuels to be considered as an alternative to or diesel. The sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030, but MPs are concerned that there is little detail about the fate of existing polluting cars. The Daily Mail has launched a campaign calling on ministers to rethink the target, designed to aid Britain's efforts to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Iain Stewart, the Conservative chairman of the transport committee, warned that rural drivers with poorer access to charging points could be left behind if ministers focus the green agenda solely on electric vehicles (EV). His committee believes that synthetic fuels and biofuels which can be used in traditional combustion engines to reduce emissions are being 'demonised' by ministers despite the fact that 'addressing the existing fleet will be decisive in achieving our climate goals'. Sustainable fuels would also offer a more 'socially equitable' way of reducing emissions by allowing drivers who cannot afford a new EV, or lack access to charging facilities, to make their existing cars environmentally friendly. The committee warned that the Government was 'succumbing to groupthink', adding: 'Not everyone will be able to afford to replace their current car with an EV, nor will everyone easily be able to charge one at home. 'There are questions over the adequacy of infrastructure and the use of raw materials to produce the necessary batteries. An exclusive focus on battery electric vehicles risks failing to meet the UK's climate goals.' Mr Stewart said: 'I am not anti-EVs. But there will be areas where it is not going to be practical, such as rural areas, as well as with second-hand cars.' Writing in today's Daily Mail, Lord Bamford, the chairman of JCB, has expressed bewilderment that the Government is ignoring other technology as his company develops hydrogen-fuelled combustion engines for its construction equipment. Sustainable fuels are seen as an alternative to EVs because their 'drop-in' capability means they can be used in existing engines without costly conversion. Biofuels, which are generated from waste products and synthetic fuels created from 'defossilised' carbon dioxide sources, can reduce emissions. Critics, however, claim biofuels can put the food industry at risk by incentivising farmers to prioritise its production. There are also concerns that synthetic fuel is much more expensive. The committee's report, published in March, stated that there was a case for many people, particularly in rural or isolated communities, to continue driving wholly diesel or petrol-powered cars as their emissions would eventually become 'negligible'. It expressed concern that the cost of introducing charging infrastructure across Britain would be 'completely unrealistic' and warned the pace of the EV roll-out was already going too slowly. But the Government published a response earlier this month, saying: 'There is a broad consensus amongst industry, non-governmental organisations, and other experts that electrification is the most efficient approach to decarbonising cars and vans.' Mr Stewart has hit back, saying the Government's approach was 'long past its sell-by date'. Another member of the committee, Tory MP Karl McCartney, responded: 'By rejecting environmentally-friendly synthetic fuels and sustainable fuels as an alternative fuel option for cars and vans, the Government are burying their head in the sand and making a huge mistake.' He added that the 2030 ban was 'far tougher' than the European Union's 2035 deadline. A poll for the Mail, conducted by Survation, found that only 28 per cent of the public think the ban is a good idea, compared with 53 per cent who think it is a bad one. A Department for Transport spokesman said: 'E-fuels are not proven technology, have expensive and complex supply chains, and emit much of the same pollutants as petrol and diesel.'