Car engines that do not make too much noise are set to be pumped up, as it has been found that they now pose a danger to cyclists and pedestrians because they cannot be heard.
The Government is considering plans that would force car-makers to turn up the volume again, by installing artificial noise generators, the Daily Mail reported.
It is working with officials from the EU and the US on proposals to set a minimum noise limit for new vehicles.
Any vehicle that falls below the limit – believed to be around 40 decibels, or the level of a fridge motor – would be required to amplify its engine noise artificially.
The move would affect ordinary models, which have become much quieter in recent years, as well as electric cars.
It means the familiar purr of combustion engines could soon be replaced by futuristic electronic sounds. At present there is no lower limit for noise, only an upper limit to prevent excessive noise pollution.
Concerns about the silent danger of some vehicles were first raised after the introduction of electric cars and vans.
The idea of adding artificial noise was extended to diesel and petrol engines after research found some models were equally quiet at speeds under 20mph.
Manufacturers have already started experimenting with different noises, from the roar of a sports car to bird song.