The European Parliament formally approved a law to ban the sale of new gas and diesel cars in the European Union from 2035, in a bid to achieve net-zero carbon-dioxide emissions from vehicles. This legislation is part of the E.U.’s broader climate ambitions, with the aim of achieving a 100 percent reduction in emissions for new passenger cars and vans by 2035 within the E.U.’s 27-country bloc. Classic and older cars, including diesel cars, will be allowed to be driven until the end of their lifetimes. The law also includes targets for reducing emissions by 55 percent for cars and 50 percent for vans by 2030.
Following a vote in the European Parliament, the revised CO2 emission performance standards for new cars and vans, which had been agreed upon with the European Council, were approved with 340 votes in favor, 279 against, and 21 abstentions. “This regulation encourages the production of zero- and low-emission vehicles. It contains an ambitious revision of the targets for 2030 and a zero-emission target for 2035, which is crucial to reach climate neutrality by 2050,” rapporteur Jan Huitema, a member of the political group Renew Europe, said in a statement. “These targets create clarity for the car industry and stimulate innovation and investments for car manufacturers. Purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers and a second-hand market will emerge more quickly. It makes sustainable driving accessible to everyone.”
The E.U. has outlined several key measures that will be introduced as part of the new regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cars and vans. These include a European Commission methodology, to be presented by 2025, to assess and report CO2 emissions data for the entire life-cycle of cars and vans sold in the E.U. market, including relevant legislative proposals. Manufacturers with small production volumes of 1,000 to 10,000 new cars or 1,000 to 22,000 new vans per year may be granted an exemption until the end of 2035, while those producing fewer than 1,000 new vehicles per year will remain exempt. The existing zero- and low-emission vehicles (ZLEV) incentive mechanism will also be adjusted to align with expected sales trends.
In July 2021, the European Commission proposed a revision of CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles as part of its “Fit for 55” package, a set of proposals aimed at enabling the E.U. to achieve a 55 percent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. In October 2022, the European Parliament and European Council reached a provisional agreement about the zero-emissions targets for new vans and cars. Before the deal was confirmed, Huitema addressed questions about the legislation and whether conventionally-powered cars would be banned, in a video published on the European Parliament’s website on Oct. 19, 2022. He clarified that classic cars and race cars can be driven until the ends of their lifetimes. “The most important part for me was that car driving will be still affordable and climate-friendly,” he added. “And this is what we want to achieve with this legislation, that electric driving, for example, is not only for rich people.”