The European Parliament formally approved a law to ban the sale of new gas and diesel cars in the European Union starting in 2035 in a move designed to speed up the transition to electric vehicles.
The new legislation, which is part of a broader effort by the EU to combat climate change, says that by 2035, carmakers must achieve a 100% cut in carbon-dioxide emissions from new cars sold, which means no new fossil fuel–powered vehicles could be sold in the 27-country bloc.
With 340 votes in favor, 279 against and 21 abstentions, the new rules also set a path for more immediate emissions reductions targets. New cars and vans sold from 2030 will have to meet a 55% and 50% cut in emissions, respectively, compared to 2021 levels. The previous 2030 emissions target for new cars sold was 37.5%.
The law was first accepted by negotiators from EU countries, the European Parliament and the European Commission in October last year, so Tuesday’s approval is just a step before the law gets a formal rubber stamp and the rules begin to take effect. That’s expected to happen in March.
Member of the European Parliament Jan Huitema said these target revisions are crucial steps if Europe wants to reach climate neutrality by 2050.
“These targets create clarity for the car industry and stimulate innovation and investments for car manufacturers,” Huitema said in a statement. “Purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers and a second-hand market will emerge more quickly. It makes sustainable driving accessible to everyone.”
However, some automakers, industry players and countries have been giving the EU pushback ever since the law was proposed in July 2021. Renault, for example, said in 2021 that it would seek an extension to the proposed plan to ban internal combustion engine vehicle sales in the EU by 2035, instead hoping to push out the transition to 2040 so it could provide more affordable cars to EV buyers.
As a result of resistance, the final deal approved Tuesday includes flexibilities, including a caveat for small carmakers producing fewer than 10,000 vehicles per year to be able to negotiate weaker targets until 2036.