Lawmakers plan to increase incentives and subsidies for the producers of electric vehicles and report every two years on the affordability of the new technology, as well as impacts upon consumption and employment. The policy is an effective ban on new vehicles powered by diesel and gasoline.
“With these targets, we create clarity for the car industry and stimulate innovation and investments for car manufacturers,” Jan Huitema, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, said in a statement. “In addition, purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers. I am pleased that today we reached an agreement with the Council on an ambitious revision of the targets for 2030 and supported a 100% target for 2035.”
The European Union has adopted the official policy of becoming “a climate-neutral society” by 2050 in accordance with the European Green Deal and the Paris Agreement.
The new transportation plan would require immediate action from the European Parliament, including the construction of charging stations and access to raw materials, according to a statement from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, a trade association uniting the continent’s largest automakers.
“This extremely far-reaching decision is without precedent,” BMW CEO Oliver Zipse said. “It means that the European Union will now be the first and only world region to go all-electric.”
In the United States, the governments of California, Massachusetts, Washington, and Virginia are following new rules from the California Air Resources Board requiring 35% of new vehicles to produce zero emissions by 2026, a standard that will progressively rise to 100% by 2035. The Biden administration has likewise set the “ambitious target” of ensuring that electric vehicles constitute 50% of car sales in the United States by 2030.
The Inflation Reduction Act, which contains $369 billion for climate initiatives, includes tax credits for new electric vehicles. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has urged a transition from gas-powered vehicles as a solution for Americans experiencing high prices at the pump.
The new European Union policy comes as energy prices across the continent soar to new heights due to fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and low production from some renewable sources. Russia severed natural gas flow through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline ahead of the system witnessing unprecedented damage, tightening the availability of the critical fuel.
Russian shipments accounted for 40% of the European natural gas supply last year, a rate that had dropped to 9% as of two months ago. Germany, the continent’s largest economy, has seen dependence on Russian natural gas decrease from 55% to 35%.
The International Energy Agency recently found that a failure to reduce energy demand would bring power inventory to 18% of working capacity by March. Several nations, including France and Spain, have called for residents to reduce power consumption ahead of the winter months.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen revealed that the European Union would introduce a “mandatory target” for reducing electricity consumption during peak demand. In a speech, she asserted that droughts which have lowered river capacity and therefore reduced hydropower production are among the “effects of climate change” and point to the need for “massive investments in renewables.”