The European Parliament has approved a law to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles across European Union (EU) nations by 2035 to ramp up the production of electric cars to combat the climate change crisis which many countries have pledged various actions to tackle.
When the newly approved law comes into effect, European countries like Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands, Portugal and several other major Nigeria’s customers would be unable to buy the commodity from the country.
The measure would have a very serious economic and financial cosequences on Nigeria as the oil sector in Nigeria accounts for up to 95 per cent of the country’s export earnings, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
But for the landmark EU rules, it will require that by 2035 carmakers must achieve a 100 per cent cut in CO2 emissions from new cars sold, which would make it impossible to sell new fossil fuel-powered vehicles in the 27-country bloc.
The law will also set a 55 per cent cut in CO2 emissions for new cars sold from 2030 versus 2021 levels, much higher than the existing target of a 37.5 per cent.
“The operating costs of an electric vehicle are already lower than the operating costs of a vehicle with an internal combustion engine,” the parliament’s lead negotiator on the rules, Jan Huitema, was quoted saying.
He added that it was crucial to bring more affordable electric vehicles to consumers as per a Reuters report.
Huitema, a member of the European Parliament, stated that the targets were crucial for Europe if it wants to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
“These targets create clarity for the car industry and stimulate innovation and investments for car manufacturers,” he stressed.
“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,” the chief negotiator assured.
Chairman of The Transport Committee, Karima Delli, stressed that the law was a win for the planet and its people. “Today’s vote is a historic vote for the ecological transition … it is a victory for our planet and our populations,” Karima said.
EU countries agreed the deal with lawmakers last October, but still need to formally rubber stamp the rules before they can take effect. Final approval is expected in March.
New vans must comply with a 100 per cent CO2 cut by 2035, and a 50 per cent cut by 2030, compared with 2021 levels. Many carmakers in Europe have announced investments in electrification.
Volkswagen Chief Executive, Thomas Schaefer, said last year that from 2033 the brand will only produce electric cars in Europe.
Still, the EU law met resistance from some industry and countries when it was proposed in July 2021. As a result, the final deal includes some flexibilities including that small carmakers producing less than 10,000 vehicles per year can negotiate weaker targets until 2036.
The car CO2 law is part a broader package of tougher EU climate policies, designed to deliver the bloc’s targets to slash greenhouse gas emissions this decade.
The law passed in Strasbourg aims to give European automakers a clear time frame to switch to production of electric vehicles and counter competition from China and the United States.
“Let me remind you that between last year and the end of this year, China will bring 80 models of electric cars to the international market,” EU Vice President Frans Timmermans, said.
“These are good cars. These are cars that will be more and more affordable, and we need to compete with them. We don’t want to give up this essential industry to outsiders,” he added.
Meanwhile, some automaker I’ms have already started preparing for the transition to electric vehicles. Aside Volkswagen which last year said it will produce only electric vehicles in Europe by 2033, Audi also assured it would cease producing diesel and petrol cars by 2033.