The energy ministers of the European Union met on 28 March 2023 to approve the new legislation about the sale of cars with carbon-emitting vehicles, which was previously passed by the European Parliament in February. According to the regulation, a step-by-step decrease is required in the emission of CO2 of the newly sold cars.
The European Union has long been planning to make important steps toward carbon neutrality. A package called “Fit for 55” was adopted in early 2011, which contained several goals to be achieved by 2030 and 2050. These are mainly a form of reduction of harmful emissions from various industries in order to fully comply with the action plan set out in the Paris Agreement. A significant part, around 15% of the emission is produced by cars. As an important step in the way of carbon neutrality, the EU has now introduced a complete ban on the sale of CO2-emitting vehicles from 2035, and until then, a definitive timetable has now been set for the amount of reduction needed. Until 2030 an interim emission reduction target is set for 55% for new cars and 50% for new vans. There are a few exceptions to the general rule, such as small car-manufacturing companies that produce race cars.
From 2035 no carbon-emitting new cars or vans can be sold in the European Union. Germany made strong arguments to permit the sale of cars that run on e-fuel, which is a class of synthetic fuels, a type of substitute fuel that are carbon-neutral if they are produced by the usage of renewable energy and extracted from the atmosphere. After consideration, Member States adopted a non-binding recital clause in the regulation, that permits the sale of e-fuel cars even after 2035.
It is expected that the ban will accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles, thus facilitating the innovation, while leading to cities with cleaner air. The applicability of the regulation remains in question, as the development, as well as the infrastructure for electric vehicles of the Member States, varies on a great scale. It is also expected that oil industry representatives will raise their voices against the ban.