Germany may be next on the list of countries experimenting with removing gasoline-powered vehicles from its roads. The twist here is that Germany's new bi-partisan agreement wants to remove the internal combustion engine from all roads across the entire European Union.
According to Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, the country's Bundesrat—its legislative body—supports a ban on petrol and diesel cars from 2030 onwards, with only emissions-free passenger vehicles allowed. If Germany is to meet its commitments to the Paris climate agreement, then it needs to reduce its carbon emissions by as much as 95%. Getting dirty internal combustion engine off the roads could be a good chunk of that, and the majority agreement on this plan, which has support across the major parties, means that the ban has a good chance of going ahead, in Germany at least.
The Bundesrat also wants the EU to get involved and to enforce a similar ban across member states. The EU Commission should "evaluate the past tax and duty practices of the Member States on their effectiveness with regard to the promotion of emission-free mobility . . . so that only emission-free passenger cars are permitted at the latest from 2030 onwards." [This statement was machine-translated].
Germany's auto lobby isn't quite so happy about the proposal. The president of the German Automotive Industry Association (VDA), Matthias Wissmann, called it "absurd," saying that the government "should not dictate technological advances or dictate decisions to the customer." The Green Party, predictably, supports the proposal, and also offers an insight into the mind of the German consumer
"There is no way around e-mobility—not just in terms of climate protection—" Green Party chief Cem Özdemir told Der Spiegel, "but above all in terms of the competitiveness of German car owners." This last sentence suggests that the electric car revolution will sweep Germany on the back of a wave of one-upmanship, the natural counterpart of Schadenfreude.
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