We're used to radical transportation policies in the Netherlands, but this goes a step further than most anything we've seen: Starting in 2025, people there will no longer be able to buy a gasoline or diesel-powered car—even if they want to. By law, only zero-emissions vehicles will be on sale.
There is dissent from the political opposition over this plan, but it's surprisingly low-key, given what—in bureaucratic terms—is an incredibly short time frame. Imagine somebody trying this in the U.S.
The law will be easier to implement considering current the popularity of walking, cycling, and electric vehicles in the country.
According to Inside EVs, 43,000 new plug-in electric cars were purchased in the Netherlands in 2015. Overall, 450,000 new cars were registered which, says the article's author Jay Cole, gives plug-ins a 9.6% market share. And in the Netherlands, 31% of people there use the bike as their primary mode of transport, with 27% of all trips (not just urban trips) made by bike. Public transport is at 11%, and 49% of people still use cars as their main mode of transport.
The Netherlands seems bent on unhooking itself from the oil teat, and if this new policy works, it will hasten that goal. And there may even be a nice side effect. If there are sectors still not served by electric vehicles by the time the ban comes into effect in 2025, the second-hand market in trucks might bloom. Then again, maybe all goods vehicles will be driverless by then.