Worldwide bans for combustion engines: 2050, 2040 or already 2030?

Climate change is causing a global rethink in transport policy as well. Bans on combustion engines have already been announced in many places. Only the most important car markets avoid specific announcements.

Some may remember: A clean air law drawn up by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in 1990 should have helped the electric car to achieve a breakthrough in the 90s. The decree issued by the government of the US state of California at the time led the auto industry to develop emission-free cars that were even on the streets in large numbers in the US until the CARB law was softened. When the initially strict emission standards were off the table, the Stromer also disappeared from the scene. And that for several decades.

Times for driving bans for combustion engines are specified

In the meantime, however, it seems clear that the rise of the electric vehicle, which has been going on for a good 10 years as a serious alternative to the combustion car, will probably no longer be stopped and in many places there will even be no alternative. In many of the markets that are important to the automotive industry, dates for the introduction of driving bans for combustion engines have already been set or are currently being discussed. Other important auto regions are likely to follow the numerous examples. In the 90s, the US state of California alone pushed forward and quickly buckled again. The phenomenon has now assumed global proportions, the reversibility of which seems increasingly unlikely. This trend should help the electric car to finally break through.

Both diesel and petrol are affected by the driving ban

In Europe, among other things, a handful of metropolises have announced that they want to introduce general bans for gasoline vehicles in addition to driving bans for diesel vehicles. In 2030, no more cars with internal combustion engines should come onto the streets in Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford, London, Copenhagen, Oslo, Milan, Rome, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Barcelona. There are also examples of cities and metropolitan regions that are pursuing a corresponding ban agenda on almost every other continent. Cape Town (Africa), Auckland (Oceania), Quito (South America) or Vancouver (North America) have also chosen 2030 as the year after which new registrations of diesel and gasoline cars are no longer permitted.

Norway starts in 2025, other European countries start in 2030

In addition to cities, some European state governments have also dared to specify specific exit times. Above all, Norway does not want to have any more cars with combustion engines from 2025. The Norwegians will not even have to make any particular adjustments, because the e-car has enjoyed incomparably great popularity with them for years. As early as 2013, around 5 percent of newly registered cars in Norway had an electric drive; this now applies to more than every second new car in the Scandinavian country.

Other countries in Europe want to follow Norway's example. Belgium, for example, wants to introduce a registration ban especially for company cars with diesel or gasoline engines from 2026. In addition, Iceland, Holland, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and Denmark have set themselves the goal of saying goodbye to combustion engines from 2030 onwards. Great Britain, which initially announced an exit for the year 2040, brought this forward to 2035 at the beginning of this year and also expanded it to include commercial and hybrid vehicles. In Scotland in particular, the regional government wants to introduce a ban on new registrations for combustion engines from 2032. In Finland the motto is: stop sales of fossil fuel-powered cars from 2035 and stop sales of fossil fuels themselves from 2045. France and Latvia have again announced bans on new registrations of combustion cars from 2040. Spain has announced that it intends to target the phase-out of gasoline and diesel cars in 2040 as well.

Germany does not yet have a specific year for an exit

Unlike many neighboring countries, Germany has not yet been able to set a specific year for an exit. According to the climate protection plan adopted by the federal government in 2016, the transport sector should largely dispense with fossil fuels in 2050. In contrast to this somewhat vaguely worded exit target, CSU boss Markus Söder and the head of the Federal Environment Agency, Dirk Messner, recently called for the introduction of a ban on new combustion engines for 2035. The Greens want the exit as early as 2030. Cities and municipalities in Germany have so far can only get through to diesel bans. The city of Heidelberg is one of the few places in Germany with a continuing exit agenda, which has set itself the goal of achieving extensive climate neutrality by 2030. This is why the city only wants to purchase emission-free buses for local transport from 2025. In addition, Heidelberg intends to provide more financial incentives to promote e-mobility. Ultimately, however, an EU-wide regulation could become decisive for Germany, although it does not yet exist. Denmark had already proposed 2040 as an exit year. The EU Commission is currently examining whether the federal state association should aim for a specific year for combustion bans in order to achieve its CO2 climate targets.

Not only Europe is planning an exit, with the USA still hesitating

There are also a number of countries outside of Europe that are already planning combustion bans. This includes the subcontinent India, where from 2030 only new vehicles with electric drives will be registered. Israel has announced a ban on imports and new registrations for combustion cars for the same year. Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, Egypt and Sri Lanka plan to phase out in 2040, while Costa Rica has set a goal of 2050. Also from 2050 onwards, only cars with at least one electric motor will be on sale in Japan.

Like the EU, the most important world markets, the USA and China, have not yet given any annual figures for combustion bans. Initial advances can only be reported in a few cities or regions. In China, the world's most important car market, the Hainan model region alone has announced a combustion ban for all vehicle types for 2030. China itself, on the other hand, does not want to set a specific year for the introduction. At the end of September, the country's Communist Party leadership announced that it would achieve climate neutrality for China by 2060. In the transport sector, e-mobility must therefore inevitably play an important role in favor of conventionally powered vehicles.

In the USA, which is also foreign with an exit date, California is again making the start. For example, the cities of Los Angeles and Seattle are holding out burner bans for 2030. The state itself plans to follow suit five years later. The chances that this plan will not be overturned again this time are significantly higher than at the beginning of the 1990s.


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