A group of EU countries led by Germany wants to lift a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035.
Advocates of carbon-neutral synthetic or e-fuels, the Liberal Democratic Party coalition wants new vehicles powered by internal combustion engines to be exempt from the proposed ban.
Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria also opposed the ban, while Austrian Chancellor Karnehamer welcomed the FDP’s position and said he would also oppose a ban on combustion-engine vehicles.
Sandra Roling, transport director at The Climate Group, said: “It is deeply worrying that Germany is spearheading efforts to delay the EU’s agreed 2035 ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars and seek e-fuel incentives.
“That six other countries are now rowing in behind Germany risks undermining business trust in the EU itself, not to mention having a detrimental effect on the health of the EU’s people and its climate, along with prolonging the life of the internal combustion engine.”
Unveiled in 2021, the plan aims to achieve zero carbon emissions from new cars sold in the block by 2035.
It accelerates the EU’s previous plan, which had targeted a 37.5% reduction by the end of the decade.
In a letter to the European Commission, the climate group and 47 companies warned that any delay to the ban would have devastating effects on air quality and the environment across the EU and jeopardize the bloc’s ability to meet its climate commitments.
The companies argued that backtracking now would set a dangerous precedent and undermine business confidence in the EU legislative process, she added.
“Legislative certainty is vital for business planning,” said Roling. “Our asks are simple. Stick to the 2035 date, and no concessions for e-fuels. Give businesses the clarity and certainty they need to invest in the switch to electric vehicles.”
Three years ago, the UK announced a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030.
Sales of hybrid cars and vans, which can travel long distances without sending carbon out of the tailpipe, will continue until 2035.
“Now is not the time to put domestic political interests ahead of the health and welfare of our planet and EU citizens, and indeed of future generations.
“Now is the time for strong, decisive and progressive policy and leadership.”
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