diesel exhaust

EU approves ban on petrol and diesel cars by 2035

All new cars and vans registered in Europe will need to be zero-emission by 2035 under new rules approved by the European Parliament.

As an intermediary step towards zero emissions, new CO2 standards will be put in place that require average emissions of new cars to come down by 55 per cent by 2030, and new vans by 50 per cent by 2030.

The rules trail similar measures put in place by the UK, which announced in 2020 that a ban on new diesel and petrol cars would be instituted by 2030.

The executive vice-president for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said: “The agreement sends a strong signal to industry and consumers: Europe is embracing the shift to zero-emission mobility. European carmakers are already proving they are ready to step up to the plate, with increasing and increasingly affordable electric cars coming to the market. The speed at which this change has happened over the past few years is remarkable.”

The European Commission hopes it will send a “clear signal” to manufacturers and citizens that will lead to an acceleration of the production and sale of low- and zero-emission vehicles and put road transport on a path to climate neutrality by 2050.

The current agreement is only provisional and requires formal adoption by the Parliament and the Council. Once this process is completed, the new legislation will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and enter into force.

The revision of the CO2 emission standards for cars and vans is one of the ‘Fit for 55’ proposals presented by the Commission in July 2021 to make the EU’s climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

“This deal is good news for car drivers... new zero-emission cars will become cheaper, making them more affordable and more accessible to everyone,” Parliament’s lead negotiator Jan Huitema said.

Small carmakers producing fewer than 10,000 vehicles per year will be able to negotiate weaker targets until 2036, when they would face the zero-emission requirement.

Passenger cars are a major polluter, accounting for some 61 per cent of total CO2 emissions from EU road transport.

Greenpeace said the 2035 deadline is too late to limit global warming to below 1.5°C.

The green group’s transport campaigner Lorelei Limousin said: “The EU is taking the scenic route, and that route ends in disaster.

“A European 2035 phase-out of fossil fuel-burning cars is not quick enough: New cars with internal combustion engines should be banned by 2028 at the latest.

“The announcement is a perfect example of where politicians can bask in a feel-good headline that masks the reality of their repeated failures to act on climate.”

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