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News Round-Up

Sep 20: Net zero pledges face watering down; Fuel price warning; First plug-in hybrid pick up

Here are the headlines for Wednesday, September 20

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Time 6:35 am, September 20, 2023

Sunak to water down net zero commitments

Rishi Sunak appears set to water down some of the government’s net zero pledges to ensure they are ‘proportionate’, in a move that has drawn sharp criticism from across the political spectrum and campaigners.

The prime minister confirmed he will make a speech this week to ‘set out an important long-term decision’, following reports that he would use one to row back on green targets.

This could include weakening the plan to phase out gas boilers from 2035 and delaying the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars – currently due in 2030 – by five years, the BBC reported.


Fuel price warning as oil nears 100 dollars a barrel

Motorists are being warned over rising fuel prices as the cost of a barrel of oil approaches 100 US dollars.

The RAC said drivers are ‘in for a hard time at the pumps’ as increasing demand from China and production cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia are sparking a hike in oil prices.

Brent crude, the oil price benchmark, ended Monday at 94 US dollars per barrel, its highest price since mid-November 2022.


First plug-in hybrid pick up revealed

Ford has revealed a new plug-in hybrid version of its Ranger pick-up, being the first vehicle of this kind to be offered with such a setup.

The latest generation of Ford’s best-selling Ranger arrived earlier in 2023 with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, though the firm always promised an electrified version.

This will arrive in 2025 in the form of a plug-in hybrid as Ford ramps up its line-up of zero-emissions-capable models.

Payment shock expected at Christmas as half a million fixed mortgages due to end

Around half a million fixed mortgages are set to end either in the run-up to or just after Christmas, potentially giving homeowners a payment shock at what is often the most expensive time of the year, Which? is warning.

The consumer group pointed to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) figures indicating that more than 500,000 fixed-rate mortgages will come to an end in November, December or January.

Average two-year fixed-rate mortgages are currently above 6%, according to data from financial information website Moneyfacts.

Wales 20mph petition gets 175,000 signatures

The Welsh First Minister has rejected calls to scrap the controversial 20mph speed limit for residential roads in Wales after a record 175,000 people signed a petition against it.

On Sunday, Wales became the first country in the UK to drop the default speed limit from 30mph to 20mph for restricted roads.

Mark Drakeford said the decision had twice been approved by the Senedd and despite the record-breaking petition asking the Welsh Government to “rescind and remove the disastrous 20mph law” he would not be scrapping the policy.


Fiat 600e

Fiat 600e to go on sale next month

Fiat has announced its brand new 600e will be priced from £32,995 when it goes on sale next month.

Billed as Fiat’s ‘return to the B-segment hatchback market’, the new pure-electric 600e is being positioned as the bigger brother to the 500e, and will take other electric crossovers such as the Kia e-Niro, Hyundai Kona and Volvo’s EX30.

As Fiat is part of carmaker Stellantis, the 600e shares much of its mechanicals with its siblings, including the new Jeep Avenger, such as its platform, 54kWh battery and 154bhp electric motor.

Rate of decarbonisation falling ‘dangerously’ short

The rate of decarbonisation is falling dangerously short of what is required for a safe future climate, according to analysis by PwC.

The financial services giant has released its Net Zero Economy Index – an annual analysis that has tracked economic growth and CO2 emissions for 15 years against the decarbonisation rates required to achieve the aims of the Paris Agreement.

The 2023 analysis suggests that global year-on-year decarbonisation must now hit a rate of 17.2% to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – up from 15.2 per cent in 2022.

This is seven times greater than the global decarbonisation rate of 2.5 per cent achieved over the last year, the report said.

Volvo to produce last diesel car in early 2024

Volvo has announced that it will produce its last diesel car at the start of 2024 as it continues to switch its focus to electrified models.

Announced at Climate Week NYC, although diesel models were quietly phased out of its UK range earlier in the year, the firm will now globally stop making models powered by the fuel in early 2024.

Diesel was historically popular in larger Volvo models like the XC90 and XC60, but has faded as more buyers choose plug-in hybrids instead.

Dates for cost-of-living payments

Millions of households across the UK will get a £300 cost-of-living support payment directly from the Department for Work and Pensions between October 31 and November 19.

It will be the second of three payments totalling up to £900 for those eligible and on means-tested benefits, such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit or tax credits, in 2023/24.

People eligible for payments who are claiming tax credits only, who do not qualify for a payment from the DWP, will get £300 from HM Revenue and Customs between November 10 and 19.

Payments are tax-free, will not count towards the benefit cap and will not have any impact on existing benefit awards, the Government said.

Oil prices and inflation raise concerns for FTSE

London stocks finished a touch higher on Tuesday during a jittery session as traders faced further concerns about inflation persistence.

It means prices have jumped by over a quarter since June, raising concerns that it could impact efforts by global economies to bring inflation down quickly.

The FTSE 100 moved 0.09 per cent, or 7.26 points, higher to finish at 7,660.2.

Windy with showers

Heavy rain will continue south today and linger across southeastern England, according to the Met Office.

It predicts the weather will turn sunnier after this although there will be some showers.

Today will be particularly windy for most, especially in coastal areas.

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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