China to phase out all petrol and diesel cars

In July France and Britain had announced they will stop sales of gasoline and diesel automobiles by 2040 to reduce pollution and carbon emissions

A major effect of this is reduction in the demand for oil in China, a country which is now the world's second-largest oil consumer after the United States. The ministry will work out the timetable, Xin said.

Xin Guobin, vice minister of the ministry of industry and information technology, did not say when the world's largest auto market would implement such a ban.

China has done considerably well to make the automobile manufacturers produce and sell new electric vehicles. However, if the world's largest market were to join the party, things would change significantly - and that's precisely what seems bound to happen.

The decision will have a significant impact on Chinese oil demand.

It is also the largest producer of and market for new-energy vehicles, with more than 500,000 built and sold past year.

Electric vehicle companies in China received a boost today after a government official nodded to possible plans for a ban on sales of petrol cars in the country.

Cui Dongshu, head of a Chinese auto industry group, said a possible phase-out of fossil fuel cars would be "a long process" because of slow progress from domestic car manufacturers, as well as customer unfamiliarity with electric vehicles. If the ban follows similar lines to those of the United Kingdom and France, Brace said it is likely that there will still be a significant number of hybrid vehicles on the roads, even if there are no exclusively fossil-fuel-powered models.

China is aiming for electric battery cars and plug-in hybrids to account for at least 20% of the country's total light vehicle sales by 2025.

Xin said the period up to 2025 will be critical for the auto industry.

BMW had also announced plans for an electric Mini to be constructed, while Volvo also progressed towards building cleaner cars. Jochem Heizmann, CEO of Volkswagen China, said in April that VW expects to sell around 400,000 new-energy vehicles in China in 2020.

A similar deadline has been given by France, leading some to predict that China would also opt for a 2040 cut-off point.

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