Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven has announced that the sale of cars with gasoline or diesel engines will be banned in his country after 2030. Sweden now joins Denmark, India, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Israel on the list of nations which say they will ban the sale of cars with internal combustion engines by that date. Countries which have announced earlier bans include Costa Rica, Norway, and South Korea, according to Wikipedia.
Greenpeace transport expert Marion Tiemann tells Electrive that other countries are also ramping up plans to do away with gasoline- and diesel-powered passenger cars, among them the UK and France, although their bans aren’t scheduled until 2040 at the earliest. German is also considering a similar ban but not until 2050 at the earliest.
Germany Lags Behind
Tiemann claims that Germany is lagging behind other nations because federal transport minister Andreas Scheuer has not yet formulated concrete transition goals. “It is clear that without a phase-out date for diesel and gasoline engines he will not be able to meet climate targets,” Tiemann says. The fact the German auto industry is vital to the country’s economy and still depends heavily on the sale of gasoline and diesel powered cars no doubt has a lot to do with the government’s reluctance to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
Scheuer was in the news this week after a panel of experts issued a report called the National Platform for Future of Mobility, which calls for imposing a speed limit of 130 km/h on all motorways including the iconic autobahn and increased taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel. He described the proposals as “completely exaggerated, unrealistic mind games” that are “against all common sense,” according to a report by The Telegraph.
“We want to inspire citizens with the opportunities of future mobility. Demands that provoke anger, annoyance, and stress or endanger our prosperity, will not become reality and I reject them,” he thundered. The Telegraph adds that Germans feel much the same about their unrestricted autobahn speeds as many Americans feel about gun rights. Both have become a source of national pride. Germans are far more upset about the speed limit restriction than they are about paying higher fuel prices.
“The derogatory remarks made by Andreas Scheuer clearly show that the transport minister doesn’t care about road safety or climate protection,” said Jürgen Resch, head of the activist group German Environmental Aid. His group has taken the lead in filing lawsuits that have forced several German cities to impose bans on older diesel-powered cars.
Earlier this month, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the presumptive successor to Angela Merkel, accused Resch’s group of carrying on a “crusade” against diesel and damaging the German car industry. Irate voters have called for terminating the group’s tax exempt status. In response, Resch said Merkel and her CDU party, “which is clearly the Christian Diesel Union — is now the party of the car industry.”
The one country that isn’t considering any restrictions on gasoline and diesel powered passenger vehicles is the United States, which is bound and determined to continue manufacturing larger, heavier, thirstier, carbon emissions spewing machines until the waters of the Atlantic ocean surge up the Potomac and close over Washington, DC. In America, the prevailing sentiment is “You can have my SUV/pickup truck when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.” How great is that?