The European Union Is Scuffling Over A Ban on Gas And Diesel Cars

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The European Union is feeling less united recently, as member countries have begun to disagree on a timeline for the phaseout of internal combustion engines for vehicles.


A coalition of nine countries asked the European Commission to set a definitive timeline for the ICE phaseout, Politico reports. That coalition is led by the Netherlands and Denmark, according to Politico, and they are joined by:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta

Notice the lack of any specific country here? Or, countries, plural? Where is Germany? Or Spain? Or France? Even Norway? Certainly, some have already set their own timelines rather than wait around for the European Commission to set a date, but that’s not the key distinction at play.

Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

The notable difference is that none of the coalition countries hold a major role in European car production. Which is to say, none of those countries in the coalition have much to lose by phasing out production of internal combustion cars way in advance of 2050, which is when the EU hopes to meet its lowered emissions goal.

Criticism of the coalition came in the form of the following sick burn from Daniel Caspary, a “leader of the German conservatives in the European Parliament,” as Politico reports:

It is significant that for the most part those member states are calling for a ban on combustion engines that have hardly any automobile production worth mentioning.”


Oof. On the other hand, Mattias Schmidt, an auto industry analyst in the EU, offered Politico a succinct account of how bad an accelerated phaseout of ICE would be for Big Auto in the region.

“It would torpedo their profitable transition of using ICEs to bridge their path to a lean and green electric vehicle future,” Schmidt said.


According to the Germans, an early phaseout could actually delay the EV transition in the following way:

[Schmidt] says an early phaseout could prompt motorists to hold on to older, dirtier vehicles for longer and force governments to splash the cash to encourage a shift to clean models.


It’s hard to ignore that Germany has a vested interest in not accelerating the ICE phaseout, instead letting its big auto industry continue to sell gas-burning cars. There are vested interests at play here.

If the EU sets hard and fast limits now, it could hurt the profitability of its industries in the short term. But if the EU coasts, it will just be kicking the can down the road. Except the can in question is doing devastating damage to Europe and the rest of the planet.



Next question is: Do they have a plan for expanding their power grid to compensate for the change?