Nine Member States Urge European Commission to Set a Deadline Banning Petrol Vehicle Sales

The countries urged the Commission to propose tougher carbon emissions standards and boost support for electric vehicles

Led by Denmark and the Netherlands, nine member countries have written to the European Commission urging it to set a deadline to ban the sales of new petrol and diesel cars across the European Union. The consortium, which includes Austria, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Malta believes that this decisive move will support the shift to zero-emission vehicles, eventually ensuring that the transport sector aligns with Europe’s ambitious climate goals.

Hydrogen bus produced by Solaris for public transportation in Cologne, Germany

Hydrogen bus produced by Solaris for public transportation in Cologne, Germany, Credit: Solaris website

In addition to the deadline, the countries also urged the Commission to put in place several strong policies to tackle several issues prevailing in the transport sector. The letter stated the importance of this given that the transport sector is responsible for a quarter of the greenhouse gases that are produced in the European Union. Danish Climate Minister, Dan Jorgensen said: “We have to accelerate the green transition of road transport and as legislators send clear signals to car manufacturers and consumers across the EU.”

The countries stated that individual nations must be allowed to take steps to phase out petrol and diesel cars. Several auto manufacturers around the world have already committed to shorter timelines for 100% electrification. Earlier this year, the American car company Ford announced that it would not sell petrol or diesel cars starting 2030. Last week, Swedish auto manufacturer Volvo committed to the same timeline. The British government has pledged to sell only electric vehicles by the end of this decade, the Swedish government has announced it will use only electric vehicles for administrative use by 2022.

The European Commission is working towards its keenly awaited climate policy which is expected to be released in June this year. It is expected that among other rules, the Union will propose stricter carbon emissions standards for new European cars. The climate policy will outline measures to achieve climate neutrality for the European Bloc by 2050. In the letter, the nine countries echoed the pressing need to revise carbon emissions standards, stating that they needed “significant strengthening”. In addition to addressing carbon emissions, the consortium also urged the Commission to boost support for zero-emission vehicles by ramping up charging and refuelling infrastructure across the European Union.