EU votes to ban petrol cars

In a seminal move in the climate change debate, the European Parliament this week voted to support an effective EU ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035.

The vote upholds a key pillar of the European Union’s plans to cut net emissions by 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels – a target that requires faster emissions reductions from industry, energy and transport.

The legislative chamber supported a proposal, first put forward by the European Commission last year, to require a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions from new cars by 2035, which would make it impossible to sell fossil fuel-powered vehicles in the EU from that date.

Attempts by some lawmakers to weaken the target to a 90% CO2 cut by 2035 were rejected.

The move is part of a wider project to speed Europe’s shift to electric vehicles and encourage car manufacturers to invest more heavily in electric vehicles.

“Purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers,” said Jan Huitema, parliament’s lead negotiator on the policy.

Companies including Ford and Volvo have publicly supported the EU plan to stop combustion engine car sales by 2035, while others, including Volkswagen, aim to stop selling combustion engine cars in Europe by that date.

Electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles made up 18% of new passenger cars sold in the EU last year, although overall car sales dropped in the year amid semiconductor shortages, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.