As many of the governments around the world take a harder stance against pollution in efforts to halt or reverse climate change, the automotive industry becomes the subject of great scrutiny. In fact, the face of transportation will be much changed across the globe with the potential banishment of internal combustion engines.
Here are just five countries committed to making this change happen by 2040:
The British government is taking the lead in this new effort to curb greenhouse gases by eliminating the burning of fossil fuels. The plan is to ensure vehicles that employ internal combustion engines as a source of power will be completely phased out in the country by mid-century. In passing the legislation, Britain’s government is sending a message to automotive manufacturers that the impact motor vehicles have on the environment will no longer be tolerated.
Air quality has been worsening in recent years across Great Britain, but their own country isn’t the only concern prompting the change. British officials have expressed a fear that their country’s air pollution, created by internal combustion engines, will soon begin to match the air quality in China and India.
“The Brits share a similar concern, as air quality begins to worsen in Great Britain’s major cities, raising concerns that its pollution will creep towards that of India or China,” reported The Drive.
Britain isn’t just making the mandate without providing alternatives. Initiatives are underway to launch a £3bn ($3.9 billion) campaign to clean up the toxic air quality created by the United Kingdom’s thoroughfares. The act will do more than refit public transportation with electrically powered engines. The country also plans to re-examine road layouts and reconsider the placement of traffic control devices.
The French government has also passed legislation to ban internal combustion engines with 2040 being the target year for them as well. The announcement was made during last week’s G20 Summit and reaffirms France’s dedication to the Paris Climate Accords, which, in part, seeks to halt the damage our dependence on petroleum-based machinery is having on the environment.
France is taking things a step further than the changes implemented in the United Kingdom by also pledging to end the use of coal-fired power plants by 2022. The country has also announced that permits for gas and oil drilling will no longer be granted. While these are all impressive goals, France is still struggling with another deadly contaminant affecting our environment. At present, France relies on nuclear reactors to provide as much as 75% of their power. They hope to lower that to 50% by 2025.
Another country joining the ban on internal combustion engines is Germany, but their government has vowed to fulfil their pledge by 2030. This means auto manufacturers will have to comply with the new zero-emissions policy ten years sooner in Germany than in other countries. After that time, the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles will be prohibited.
The legislative force in Germany, the Bundesrat, agreed to implement the policy across all sixteen German states, ensuring all European Union roads will be emission free. Certainly, Germany is just one member of the EU, but possessing the largest government and most powerful economy in the EU affords Germany greater influence in the union.
While the ban prohibits the sale of new fossil fuel powered vehicles, automobiles already on the road will be exempt from the regulations. As the production and sale of new electrically powered vehicles begin to flood the international marketplace, it may not be long before existing gasoline-powered vehicles become obsolete. Oil imports will likely drop and gas stations will close, making it difficult to fuel those cars and trucks in the coming years.
Norway is even more motivated than Germany, or so their mandates suggest by giving automakers just one decade to conform. The goal for Norway is to ensure that 100% of their vehicles are running on green energy by 2025, indicating that even existing internal combustion engines won’t be permitted.
Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv declared that “FRP will remove all gasoline cars” in compliance with the new legislation.
While this seems like an ambitious plan, it may not be too far out of reach for Norway. The country already reports that 24% of their vehicle sales are electrically powered automobiles. Converting fully to electric vehicles should be possible by the self-appointed time limit, especially when they’re being joined by other countries in the European Union.
India’s Power Minister Piyush Goyal announced the push to eliminate fossil fuel powered vehicles from their roads entirely by 2030, matching Germany’s pledge. Hoping to alleviate the burden this might place on some of its people, India has provided a program in which new auto buyers can make their purchase without a down payment and achieve financing through the government. The goal is to make the switch self-financing, so as not to place a greater burden on the government or on the people of India.
While these are still just a few countries making the move away from internal combustion engines, it may be enough to force the rest of the world to change. As our dependency on oil is diminished, it may soon decrease the demand enough that it will no longer be profitable to drill for oil. In any case, fewer fossil fuel powered vehicles on the world’s roadways will certainly impact the planet’s ecology in a positive way.