Goodbye petrol cars? EU lawmakers vote on new sales tires from 2035

Traffic in Paris, France, on May 12, 2020. The European Parliament now supports the European Commission’s goal of reducing emissions by 100% from passenger cars and vans by 2035.

Ludovic Marin | Agence France-Presse | Getty Images

European lawmakers have voted to ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars and vans in the European Union from 2035, representing an important opportunity in achieving the region’s ambitious green goals.

On Wednesday, 339 MEPs voted in favor of the plans, proposed by the European Commission, the European Union’s executive branch. There were 249 votes against the motion, while 24 deputies abstained.

The European Union is taking it a step closer to its goal of reducing emissions from new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles by 100% in 2035, compared to 2021. By 2030, the target is to reduce emissions by 50% for vans and 55% for cars.

The Commission previously said that passenger cars and vans are responsible for approximately 12% and 2.5% of total carbon dioxide emissions in the European Union. MEPs will now negotiate the plans with the bloc’s 27 member states.

The UK wants, from now on, to stop selling diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030. From 2035 it will require all zero-emission cars and vans. The United Kingdom left the European Union on January 3. 31, 2020.

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Dutch MP Jan Hetema, part of the Renew Europe group, welcomed the result of Wednesday’s vote. “I am pleased that the European Parliament has supported an ambitious review of the 2030 targets and upholds the 100% target for 2035, which is critical to reaching climate neutrality by 2050,” he said.

Others commented on the news including Alex Keynes, director of clean vehicles at the Brussels-based transport and environment group. “The deadline means that the last fossil-fueled cars will be sold by 2035, giving us a fighting chance to avoid runaway climate change,” Keynes said.

He also argued that the plans provide the auto industry with the certainty it needs “to ramp up production of electric cars, which will lead to lower prices for drivers.”

For its part, the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers said it was “concerned that MEPs will vote to set a 100% CO2 target for 2035”.

Oliver Zipps, ACEA president and CEO, BMW, said his industry was “in the midst of a broad push for electric vehicles, with new models steadily arriving.”

“But given the volatility and uncertainty that we experience globally day in and day out, any long-term regulation beyond this decade is premature at this early stage,” Zipps added. “Instead, a transparent midway review is needed in order to define post-2030 goals.”

The European Union has said it wants to be carbon neutral by 2050. Over the medium term, it wants to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, which the EU calls its “55 fit” plan.

Realizing this plan was not easy. The news regarding cars and vans came after members of the European Parliament refused to review the European Union’s Emissions Trading System, or ETS.

In a press release on Thursday, the European Parliament said three draft laws in the “Fit for 55” package are “pending pending political agreement”.

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