The European Parliament has approved a plan that would ban the sale of new cars and vans that run on gasoline or diesel fuel by 2035. The plan is part of a larger effort to reduce pollution in Europe.
The European Union (EU) is a group of 27 countries that work together and follow the same rules. Because it represents so many countries, the EU’s decisions have a big influence on the rest of the world. Many important car companies are based in the EU.
The new rules say that by 2035, all cars and vans sold in the EU must produce zero pollution. That means companies won’t be allowed to sell new vehicles that run on fuels like gas or diesel. The rules won’t affect cars that are already on the road.
Though the European Parliament has passed the bill, it still must be approved by the Council of the EU, and is expected to become a law in March.
Road traffic is an important pollution-cutting target for the EU. Traffic pollution is responsible for about 20% of the EU’s emissions.
The bill is part of a larger plan called “Fit for 55”. The goal of the plan is to reduce pollution in the EU by 55% by 2030. The EU aims to be completely carbon neutral by 2050. Electric cars are expected to be an important part of meeting that goal.
The main aim of the new law is to encourage car makers to shift quickly to making electric vehicles. That’s something that many car companies are already focusing on.
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Jan Huitema is a politician from the Netherlands, and one of the leaders behind the plan. He says the new law makes the EU’s goals very clear to car makers, and will help them focus their money and efforts to meet those goals.
Not everyone agrees. The vote in Parliament was passed with 340 members voting for the law and 279 voting against. Twenty-one members of Parliament chose not to vote.
Those who oppose the plan say that it could cause thousands of people who work for European car makers to lose their jobs. About 13 million people in the EU have jobs related to the making of cars.
Frans Timmermans, the EU’s top climate leader, says the move away from fossil fuels is coming “whether we like it or not”. Many supporters believe the plan will help the EU’s car makers keep up with other countries, like China.
The EU isn’t the first place to set a goal of banning gasoline and diesel cars. In 2020, the United Kingdom said it would ban the sale of new cars that run on gasoline or diesel fuel by 2035. California, an important place for car sales, has a similar plan.
Though trucks and buses are not part of the rules that were just passed, the EU isn’t ignoring them. Yesterday the European Commission suggested a plan that would cut pollution from large vehicles like trucks by 90% by 2040. New city buses would be expected to be pollution free by 2030.