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Plug-in hybrid vehicles are powered by both batteries and fossil fuels

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The UK government made headlines last year with its plan to ban new petrol and diesel model cars by 2030, but campaigners were disappointed that there would be an exemption for some fossil-fuelled cars. Now documents released under freedom of information laws reveal that the concession came after the trade body for UK car-makers argued that the vehicles are used in a green way by drivers – a claim that independent researchers dispute.

The UK car-makers’ trade body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders …