The UK’s planned ban on sales of new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars could start as early as 2032, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.
Last week, the government sparked industry concern after bringing the date forward from 2040 to 2035 in a bid to hit zero-carbon emission targets.
But Mr Shapps told BBC Radio 5 live it would happen by 2035, “or even 2032,” adding there would be consultation.
The SMMT car trade body had previously said the 2035 figure was “concerning”.
The government is setting out its proposals in the run-up to a United Nations climate summit in November.
- How will the petrol and diesel car ban work?
The summit, known as COP26, is being hosted in Glasgow. It is an annual UN-led gathering set up to assess progress on tackling climate change.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who announced the 2035 date, said at the time that the ban would come even earlier if possible.
The UK has set a target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050. Experts warned that the original target date of 2040 would still leave old conventional cars on the roads 10 years later.
Hybrid vehicles are now included in the proposals, which were originally announced in July 2017.
Once the ban comes into effect, only electric or hydrogen cars and vans will be available.
The Scottish government does not have the power to ban new petrol and diesel cars but has already pledged to “phase out the need” for them by 2032 with measures such as an expansion of the charging network for electric cars.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said it was not commenting for the moment. Last week, after the ban was brought forward to 2035, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the move was “extremely concerning”.
He said: “Manufacturers are fully invested in a zero emissions future… However, with current demand for this still expensive technology still just a fraction of sales, it’s clear that accelerating an already very challenging ambition will take more than industry investment.”