EU Parliament backs 2035 end date for combustion engine cars and vans

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Environment Ministers should support phase-out deadline for polluting cars and vans – with no exceptions – Transport & Environment

The European Parliament has voted to set a 2035 deadline for zero-emissions cars and vans – a significant step forward for climate action, air quality and the affordability of electric vehicles. Green group Transport & Environment called on EU environment ministers to confirm the effective end date for sales of new combustion engines when they meet on June 28.

Alex Keynes, clean vehicles manager at T&E, said: “The deadline means the last fossil fuel cars will be sold by 2035, giving us a fighting chance of averting runaway climate change. Phasing out combustion engines is also a historic opportunity to help end our oil dependence and make us safer from despots. And it gives the certainty the car industry needs to ramp up production of electric vehicles, which will drive down prices for drivers.”

MEPs voted to require carmakers to cut their average fleet emissions by 15% in 2025, compared to 2021, by 55% in 2030, and by 100% in 2035. Conservatives, the far right and even some progressive MEPs rejected a higher 2030 goal or higher targets in the 2020s which would require manufacturers to ramp up sales of electric cars sooner. T&E said the weak benchmarks will not spur enough action by carmakers this decade to help member states hit their climate goals.

The parliament rejected a loophole for synthetic fuels in cars, the latest fake ‘green’ solution of the fossil fuel industry which wants to prolong sales of new combustion engines beyond decarbonisation deadlines. E-fuels would reduce the CO2 emissions of a car bought in 2030 by just 5%, on average, over its lifetime compared to petrol, a new lifecycle analysis confirms. Burning synthetic fuels would also pump toxic NOx emissions into the air, tests have shown, while running a car on e-fuel is far more expensive compared to an electric vehicle. Producing e-fuels is also much less efficient than powering a battery electric car.

Alex Keynes said: “Environment ministers should double down on 2035 and leave no room for diversions into fake green solutions like e-fuels. Allowing synthetic fuels in cars would be an expensive and wasteful diversion from the mammoth task of cleaning up transport. Battery electric vehicles are ready today and are a cleaner, cheaper, more efficient way to decarbonise.”

Environment Ministers will decide their position on vehicle emissions targets later this month before entering into negotiations with the parliament. The final law is expected to be agreed in autumn.

Transport is the biggest source of transport emissions in Europe, with cars responsible for 12% alone. The transport sector also consumes 65% of oil in Europe, almost all of which is imported.