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A handful of European nations have recently announced calls to drastically reduce vehicle emissions and in some cases ban completely the sale of cars powered solely by gasoline or diesel.
Now the European Union has joined the discussion by proposing tougher emission targets in addition to an incentive program for automakers to spur them into adding more hybrids and electric cars to their fleets.
Under the new proposal, announced by the European Commission on Wednesday, vehicles will have to emit 15 percent less CO2 by 2025 compared with 2021 levels, which call for 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer for cars and 147 grams for light commercial vehicles.
And by 2030, vehicles will need to emit 30 percent less CO2 than the 2021 levels.
The proposal also includes a mechanism to incentivize the uptake of zero- and low-emission vehicles. Essentially, automakers with vehicles exceeding the proposed CO2 targets will be rewarded in the form of a less strict CO2 targets for their other models.
The Commission, the EU’s executive branch, acknowledged that the targets would likely lead to higher costs but said these will be offset by the savings owners would make via improved fuel economy.
The proposal aims to support a gradual transition from vehicles powered by conventional engines to electric vehicles in order to allow for sufficient time for re-training and up-skilling of those employed in the automotive industry.
The Commission pointed out the risk that Europe’s automotive industry could fall behind in this transition compared to other regions already introducing similar policies. For example, China has implemented an aggressive low-emission strategy to combat its air quality problems; the country aims to reach seven million electric car sales by 2025.
Various EU governments and the European Parliament will now need to discuss the proposals.