The European Union is about to vote on banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035, and five countries are planning to push to delay the move to electric car-only by five years.

Europe is currently establishing its plan to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

A big part of achieving that goal is removing carbon from the transportation industry, and the European Union has been pushing a plan to ban the sales of new petrol and diesel-powered vehicles by 2035.

The ban is currently being finalized with an apparent consensus about it earlier this month, but now five countries are reportedly planning to oppose it and are asking for a five-year delay:

Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania want to delay a European Union plan to effectively ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035 by five years, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The way the rule is planned, it is calling for cutting CO2 emissions in new cars by 100% by 2035, which would mean that any fossil fuel-powered vehicles would be banned and only zero-emissions vehicles, like electric cars, would be allowed.

According to the leaked memo, these five countries are instead asking for cutting 90% of CO2 in new car sales by 2035 and moving the 100% target to 2040.

Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania are citing “the significant differences” in purchasing power between EU countries as the reason for delaying the target.

The rule is expected to be finalized next week, and it’s unclear if the objection from those countries is going to have an impact.

Electrek’s Take

These “bans” on gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles often scare the public because they often miss the fact that it only affects new car sales.

It’s only about making sure that no new fossil fuel-burning vehicle makes it on the road so that existing ones can be retired over a 15-year period, which is about the lifespan of a car.

At Electrek, we believe that these bans mainly serve as some sort of broader incentive for automakers to get moving with the EV transition. When it comes to actual demand for fossil fuel-powered vehicles, we think that it will drop to near zero a lot sooner than 2035.

I understand those countries’ concern with the cost of buying electric vehicles, but I think by 2035 only new electric vehicles will make economical sense anyway when accounting for the cost of operation and the resale value.

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