While the measure has yet to be discussed by the Council and turned into law, the parliamentary vote is seen as the most crucial step in the process. Full approval is likely to mean a decline in hybrid car sales and a rapid transition to all-electric models.
Support for the measure comes after a string of rejections from other key climate policies on Wednesday.
A centre-right parliamentary group had opposed the 100% ban by 2035. Some lawmakers had called for a 90% ban instead, meaning a tenth of all new car sales could still be internal combustion engines.
“I am very relieved and happy with the result,” said Dutch lawmaker Jan Huitema, who led the policy.
Parliament previously rejected three other major proposals, including its core policy to reform its carbon market.
German lawmaker Peter Liese had told reporters earlier Wednesday that his centre-right EPP group did not support the 100% ban, adding that combustion vehicles could still be useful should the technology around low-carbon synthetic fuels evolve over time. improve.
“We don’t think that politicians should decide whether electric vehicles or synthetic fuels are the best choice. Personally, I believe that most consumers will buy an electric car if we give them the necessary infrastructure and that is what we should do,” he says. said.
He added that it is possible that synthetic fuel combustion cars could become more competitive than electric vehicles in the future. They may also be more realistic for many developing countries in Africa and Asia — who buy European cars — especially if those countries are unable to move to renewable-energy-based economies in the coming decades, Liese said.
In August last year, the Commission first announced a plan to phase out combustion engine cars. To facilitate the switch to electric cars, the Commission said it would oblige the 27 EU member states to increase the charging capacity of vehicles. Charging points will be installed every 60 kilometers on major highways and the minimum tax rate for petrol and diesel will be increased.
The automotive industry plays a vital role in the European economy, accounting for 7% of gross domestic product and supporting 14.6 million jobs in the region. But transport is the only sector where GHG emissions are rising, and road vehicles accounted for 21% of CO2 emissions in 2017.
The UK, which is no longer part of the EU, announced last year that it would ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, while sales of some new hybrids will continue until 2035.
The vote for the measure followed Parliament’s shocking rejection of EU proposals to create a more ambitious emissions trading system, a carbon border tax and a social climate fund.
Liese, the parliament’s chief negotiator on carbon market reform, urged his colleagues to try again in committee to find a proposal that would gain support.
“Anyone who voted against today should think twice… please don’t kill the ETS,” he said.
Setting more ambitious goals for the plan, which will force some of the biggest polluters to buy carbon credits, was the bloc’s key piece of legislation in the overarching Fit for 55 plan, a roadmap to cut emissions by 55% by 2030. from 1990 levels. The target is one of the most ambitious climate targets of any major economy.
The EU is the third largest polluter in the world.