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Stacks of cars parked in factory Photo: Pixabay
New combustion engine cars and vans will not be registered for use in the European Union after 2035 in recently announced legislation

Photo: Pixabay

European legislators have reached an agreement to phase out the sale of new combustion engine cars and vans by 2035.

The deal between representatives of the European Parliament and the European Council represents the first made under the bloc’s flagship ‘Fit for 55’ package to reduce net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% by 2030.

New gasoline and diesel cars and vans will not be registered for use on the region’s roads after 2035, speeding up the switch to fully electric vehicles (EVs).


The new legislation plans for a 55% CO2 emission reduction target for new cars and 50% for new vans by 2030 compared to 2021 levels, much higher than the existing target of a 37.5% reduction by then, and for a 100% CO2 emission cut by 2035.


According to European Union (EU) data, transportation is the only sector in which GHG emissions have increased in the past three decades, rising by 33.5% between 1990 and 2019. Passenger cars are a major polluter, accounting for 61% of total CO2 emissions from road transport.


The European Parliament said the deal is a signal ahead of COP27 ‘that the EU is serious about adopting concrete laws to reach the more ambitious targets set out in the EU Climate Law’.


Green group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomed the deal but said that the 2025 and 2030 targets are too weak to significantly drive down emissions. It has called on lawmakers to improve taxation and charging policies to spur the take-up of zero emissions cars. Subsidised leasing schemes, like the one promised by the French government, will also be needed to make electric cars more accessible, the group says.


Calling for a robust EU industrial strategy to keep up in the global race to lead in vehicle and battery technology, Julia Poliscanova, T&E’s Senior Director for Vehicles and Emobility, adds: ‘Foreign carmakers are eating the Europeans’ lunch. The EU badly needs a joined-up strategy for its auto industry that speeds up electrification and future-proofs European jobs. Global competition is needed for scale and innovation, but manufacturers should be making more EVs and batteries in Europe.’


The European Parliament and member states must formally approve the agreement before it comes into force.