Five countries seek to delay EU fossil fuel car phase-out

According to Reuters, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania want to delay a European Union plan that would effectively ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles starting in 2035 by five more years.

This policy is an important pillar in the EU’s plans for tackling rising transport emissions and speeding the transition to electric cars. The EU aims to reduce economy-wide net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels.

Last year’s European Commission car emissions proposal would have required a reduction of CO2 emissions by 100% by 2035. This would make it impossible to sell vehicles powered by fossil fuels in the EU after that date.

Next week, ministers from EU countries will agree on their position before they negotiate the final law with the EU parliament. This month, the EU parliament voted in favour of the 2035 ban.

Five countries urged for a 90% reduction in car CO2 by 2035, and a 100% goal by 2040, according to a paper distributed among EU states. The five countries suggested that light commercial vehicles be subject to 80% and 100% CO2 reductions by 2035, respectively, as opposed to the Commission’s proposal of a 100% reduction by 2035.

The paper stated that “adequate and tailored transitions must be established”, citing the need for expanding charging infrastructure.

Unnamed, a Bulgarian official stated that climate policies must consider economic and sociological factors, such as “the significant differences in purchasing power” between EU countries.

Brussels claims that the 2035 date is critical because the average life expectancy for new cars at 15 years. Therefore, a ban later than 2050 would prevent the EU from reaching net zero emissions by 2050. This would be the global milestone scientists claim would avoid catastrophic climate change.

While some EU countries have supported the 2035 target, Germany’s finance minister stated this week that the EU’s largest car market will not be supporting it.

Ford and Volvo Cars publicly supported the plan. Volkswagen plans to end sales of combustion engine cars in Europe by 2035. However, industry groups such as the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (EAMA) have opposed the 2035 target citing concerns about the uncertain rollout chargers.

Another law is being negotiated by the EU that will require countries to install millions upon millions of vehicle chargers in the next decade.

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