EU Governments take historic decision to end sale of polluting cars

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Agreement breaks hold of the oil industry over transport

It’s game over for the internal combustion engine in Europe, green group Transport & Environment (T&E) stated, after EU Governments agreed to end sales of polluting cars and vans by 2035. The deal reached by Environment Ministers this week makes the switch to zero-emissions vehicles a foregone conclusion after the European Parliament voted for it earlier this month. T&E said the decision breaks the hold of the oil industry over transport and gives Europe a fighting chance of decarbonising by 2050.

Julia Poliscanova, senior director for vehicles and emobility at T&E, said: “European governments have taken the historic decision to end the sale of polluting cars. Transport is the largest source of emissions and cars are the biggest part of the problem. Today is a huge step forward for the climate fight, but also for air pollution and making electric vehicles more affordable.”

While ministers agreed that manufacturers should not receive credits towards their CO2 targets for cars powered by e-fuels, they said the Commission should submit new proposals to allow their use in the future. Cars powered by e-fuels emit significantly more CO2 than battery electric vehicles over their lifecycle and pump out as much toxic NOx emissions as petrol vehicles. T&E called on MEPs to shut down any possibility of a loophole for synthetic fuels, which are also more expensive for drivers and a far less efficient use of renewable electricity than direct electrification.

Julia Poliscanova concluded: The end of the combustion engine is great news for the climate. But new proposals on fuels are a diversion. Let’s not waste any more time on e-fuels and instead focus on rolling out charging, re-skilling workers for the electric transition and responsibly sourcing material for batteries.”

EU governments will now enter into negotiations with the European Parliament on the final law. T&E called on the incoming Czech presidency of the EU Council to prioritise reaching an agreement without delay.