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EU seeks to ban gas-powered cars by 2035, slaps big emissions cuts on trucks

Cars wait in traffic at a streetlight in a large city.
Image Credit: Unsplash/Nabeel Syed

Earlier this week, the European Union took what are some of the most aggressive steps by any government to reduce emissions from transportation, which accounts for roughly one-third of the greenhouse gasses that cause global warming.

Under new rules, all new cars sold in the European Union will have to be electric by 2035 and heavy trucks and vans will have to reduce their emissions to near zero by 2040.

The new rules also included restrictions on city buses, which will have to be zero emission by 2030.

Even though these measures go further than most restrictions from national governments, environmental advocates across the European continent want the European Parliament to further.

“This target would pull the plug on the rapid electrification of trucks. The electric car surge will not be repeated [for heavy goods vehicles],” Fedor Unterlohner, freight manager at the environmental campaign group Transport & Environment, told The Financial Times.

The EU's climate commissioner has said that the European Union will move to a 100 per cent emissions reduction target, according to the FT.

“At this stage we cannot say when all uses of buses and trucks can be zero emissions with the technology currently available, especially where it concerns very challenging driving conditions such as very steep mountains and icy conditions,” Timmermans told the FT.

For the EU (and the U.S.), the issue around when to abandon combustion engines is a question of timing. Since the lifespan of a truck is typically around 18 to 20 years, combustion engine vehicles could still be on the road after 2050, which is when America and Europe are supposed to hit their net zero goals.

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