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European Union approves effective ban on sales of gas cars by 2035, requiring 100% reduction in CO2

Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

European Parliament has formally approved a law that will effectively end the sale of gas- and diesel-powered vehicles in the European Union by 2035, calling for a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions for any new cars sold, according to Reuters.

The 27-nation union agreed to the changes in October 2022, but has now formalized the deal, which enforces a 55% reduction in emissions for vehicles by 2030. Levels for CO2 for 2021 were set at a target of 37.5%.

Vans will get a slight advantage in the market, requiring a a 50% cut by 2030, compared with 2021 levels.

Just a few months before the announcement in May 2022, car makers such as Ford and Volvo even signed a joint letter with 26 other companies asking the European Union to implement such a plan.

The target of 2035 has been justified by the EU based on what officials say is an average vehicle lifespan of 15 years, which would allow the EU to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

"The operating costs of an electric vehicle are already lower than the operating costs of a vehicle with an internal combustion engine," says Jan Huitema, the parliament's lead negotiator on the carbon-cutting rules.

Companies that make less than 10,000 cars per year will be able to negotiate lower targets until 2036, however some companies are happily ready to enforce the change.

Volkswagen vowed in October 2022 to produce only electric cars in Europe beginning in 2033, committing to the earliest possible time frame after previously stating it would aim for a 2033-2035 range.

However, in June 2022, five countries were looking to delay the shift to electric-only vehicles by at least five years to 2040. Bulgaria, Italy, Portugal, Romania, and Slovakia called for a 90% cut of CO2 by 2035, extending the 100% target to 2040, with light commercial vehicles meeting 80% for 2035 before also needing the full cut by 2040.

A Bulgarian official had said that the EU needed to reconsider the economic costs of switching to electric and the effect that would have on poorer nations in the union.

Laws enforcing electric vehicle chargers are currently in negotiation in the union.

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