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These 7 Countries Are Giving Fossil Fuel-Based Cars The Boot

Spoiler alert: America isn't one of them.

SCIENCE AF STAFF
6 DEC 2017
 

In the last year, countries around the world have announced ambitious plans to help curb global carbon emissions. To meet their pledges, these countries are pulling away from fossil fuels and investing in renewable energy, like wind and solar.

 

In many cases, these countries are targeting fossil fuel-based cars to meet their emission goals.

Most of the cars in the world are powered by fossil fuels, so personal vehicles are a major cause of global warming. In the U.S. alone, over 90 percent of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum based. As a result, in 2010 the transportation industry accounted for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

global emissions sector 2015Source: IPCC (2014), based on global emissions from 2010.

Here are seven countries that are trying to change this:

1. Germany

Germany was the very first country to implement an official ban on petrol and diesel cars. In 2016, the upper house of parliament passed a resolution that called for a ban on internal combustion engines by 2030. The ban would allow German citizens to only buy electric or hydrogen-fuelled cars.

Because Germany has the fourth largest car manufacturing industry in the world, the decision will have a massive impact not only on German emissions, but also on global emissions.

2. Norway

At the beginning of 2017, Norway followed Germany's example. The country enacted a tax system which incentivizes buying low and zero emission vehicles.

 

A more complete ban on petrol-powered cars will be enacted by 2025. Plus, the ban will only allow the sale of 100 percent electric or plug-in hybrid cars.

"By 2030, heavy-duty vans, 75% of new long-distance buses, and 50% of new trucks must be zero emission vehicles. Also, by 2030, 40% of all ships in short sea shipping should be using biofuels or be low- or zero-emission ships," said a statement from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.

3. India

India is aiming to have only electric cars on their roads by 2030, according to the Minister of Railways and Coal in the Government of India.

"We are going to introduce electric vehicles in a very big way. We are going to make electric vehicles self-sufficient like UJALA," Power minister Piyush Goyal said while addressing the CII Annual Session 2017.

"The idea is that by 2030, not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country."

4. France

Emmanuel Macron's government has announced they will be ending the sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. The government cited their targets under the Paris climate accord and air pollution as two major reasons for the decision.

 

"Our [car]makers have enough ideas in the drawer to nurture and bring about this promise ... which is also a public health issue," said Nicolas Hulot, the country's new ecology minister.

To achieve this goal, the French government will be enacting additional measures to improve the use of electric and hybrid vehicles. For instance, by 2023 France aims to have a fleet of 2.4 million rechargeable electric and hybrid vehicles, according to the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

5. UK

The UK has announced all new diesel and petrol vehicles will be banned by 2040. The decision was made amid growing concern that nitrogen oxide from motor vehicle exhaust puts public health at great risk.

"Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and this government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible," said a government spokesperson.

"That is why we are providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3 billion programme (4 billion USD) to clean up dirty air around our roads."

 

6. China

While China has not given an exact date, officials announced this year that the government would be banning the production of petrol and diesel cars "in the near future."

The decision will be ground-breaking when and if it is made. Because China is the world's biggest vehicle market, banning fossil fuel-powered vehicles will force major auto companies to make the switch to clean energy.

7. The Netherlands

In 2016, the Dutch government voted for a motion that would ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars starting in 2025. Unfortunately, the plan is still stuck in the lower house, and until it is passed through the Dutch Senate, it will not be legally binding.

As it is now, the proposal would allow existing cars to stay in use, but would "strive to prevent" the sales of any future fossil fuel-powered cars.