This content is not available in your region

EU lawmakers endorse ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2035

The mandate would amount to a prohibition on the sale in the 27-nation bloc of new cars powered by gasoline or diesel.
The mandate would amount to a prohibition on the sale in the 27-nation bloc of new cars powered by gasoline or diesel.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Daniel Cole
By Euronews  with AP and Reuters

The European Parliament has thrown its weight behind a proposed ban on selling new cars with combustion engines in 2035, seeking to step up the fight against climate change by boosting the development of electric vehicles.

The European Union assembly voted on Wednesday to require automakers to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 100 per cent by the middle of the next decade. The mandate would amount to a prohibition on the sale in the 27-nation bloc of new cars powered by gasoline or diesel.

Attempts by some lawmakers to weaken the target to a 90 per cent cut in CO₂ emissions by 2035 were rejected.

EU lawmakers also endorsed a 55 per cent reduction in CO₂ from vehicles in 2030 compared with 2021. The move strengthens an existing obligation on the car industry to lower CO₂ discharges by 37.5 per cent on average at the end of the decade compared to last year.

"Purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers," said Jan Huitema, the European Parliament's lead negotiator on the policy.

Environmentalists hailed the parliament's decisions. Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based alliance, said the vote offered "a fighting chance of averting runaway climate change".

But Germany's auto industry lobby group VDA criticised the vote, saying it ignored the lack of charging infrastructure in Europe. 

The group also said the vote was "a decision against innovation and technology" - a reference to demands from the industry that synthetic fuels be exempt from the ban, which European lawmakers rejected.

The governments of EU member states will need to give their verdicts in the coming weeks or months before a final agreement on the tougher car emission requirements is approved.

If approved by EU nations, the 2035 deadline will be particularly tough on German automakers, who have focused on powerful and expensive vehicles with combustion engines while falling behind foreign rivals when it comes to electric cars.

The 2030 CO₂-reduction target and ban on combustion engines in 2035 were proposed last year by the European Commission, the EU's executive arm. 

Cars account for around 12 per cent of European emissions of greenhouse gases, which are blamed for increasingly frequent and intense heat waves, storms and floods tied to climate change.

Electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles made up 18 per cent 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.

The car law is being scrutinised as part of a package of EU draft climate legislation covering a range of other polluting industries.

The EU plans to slash greenhouse gases by 55 per cent in 2030 compared with 1990 rather than by just a previously agreed 40 per cent over the period.

A big portion of the cuts would come from power plants and factories. These two sectors, unlike cars, have their greenhouse gases curbed in the EU by a European emissions-trading system that every year reduces the total supply of required pollution permits.

Earlier on Wednesday, the EU parliament failed to advance that part of the climate package because of a split over the pace at which the free allocation of some emission permits - as opposed to the auctioning of them - should be phased out.