The European Union will make a concession to allow the sale of internal combustion vehicles after 2035, under pressure from Germany. The new regulation will only allow such vehicles to be sold if they run on synthetic fuel, something that is still only in draft form in 2023. But these concessions have been criticised by Greenpeace.
Germany has succeeded in persuading the EU not to ban internal combustion cars
Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Green Deal, announced on Twitter that a deal has been reached with Germany for the use of “e-fuel” in cars after 2035:
“We have reached an agreement with Germany for the use of e-fuel in cars. We will now work on adopting CO2 emission standards for such cars as soon as possible.”Timmermans wrote.
We have found an agreement with Germany on the future use of efuels in cars.
We will work now on getting the CO2-standards for cars regulation adopted as soon as possible, and the Commission will follow swiftly with the necessary legal steps to implement recital 11.
– Frans Timmermans (@TimmermansEU) March 25, 2023
But Greenpeace says the concession is damaging Europe:
“This lazy compromise undermines climate protection in transport and harms Europe”, the organisation said.
The problem with synthetic alternative fuels is that their production is very resource-intensive, at least at present. But consumption of these fuels is almost as polluting as fossil fuel if the engine does not use filters to capture these pollutants before they are released into the air.
Another problem with synthetic fuel would be that it will increase transportation costs in the long run and decrease sales in the electric car market without reducing pollution.
One estimate is that by 2050, 46 million fewer electric cars will be sold if synthetic fuel cars are also available on the market. As for the price, estimates say that in 2030, a driver driving a synthetic-fuelled car will, on average, pay €782 more per year for fuel than those currently fuelled by oil. There are currently no companies producing synthetic fuels on a large scale.