Zero-emission cars could receive green number plates to help drivers benefit from incentives that promote the use of cleaner vehicles.
The Department for Transport has launched a consultation on plans to give special licence plates to cars which conform to the highest environmental standards.
The aim is to make them easily identifiable to local authorities using schemes such as lower parking charges or the use of bus lanes for the most eco-friendly vehicles.
The measure is part of the government's £1.5 billion strategy to clean up road transport.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Green number plates are a really positive and exciting way to help everyone recognise the increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads.
WATCH: Co-leader of the Green Party calls the proposed number plate scheme green c**p
“By increasing awareness of these vehicles and the benefits they bring to their drivers and our environment, we will turbo-charge the zero-emission revolution.”
However, the move has been criticised by opposition MPs, with shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald calling the idea a government “gimmick”.
The MP for Middlesbrough wrote on Twitter: “If they really wanted to accelerate the transition to electric cars, they would put in place financial incentives, invest in a vast network of public charge points & aim to phase out the sale of new ICE vehicles by 2030, not 2040. Instead they’re introducing green number plates.”
Meanwhile, Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley accused Number 10 of “distracting everyone” with the number plates “while the planet burns”.
Potential plate designs include a fully green number plate with black lettering, the addition of a green flash on the plate or the addition of a green dot or symbol.
Mr Shapps also recently announced that he has doubled funding for electric vehicle charging points on residential streets.