A new bill that bans gas and diesel-powered vehicles in the entirety of the Netherlands is likely to become law, proponents say.
Originally sponsored by the Labor Party and introduced for a vote in lower parliament this April, if the bill passes it will take effect in 2025 and apply to any new cars sold on Dutch soil, Yale Climate Connections reported. For gas and diesel-powered cars already owned in the Netherlands, they will receive a grandfathered status.
The ban was even more ambitious in its original form, prohibiting all gas and diesel cars in the country, as opposed to just the sale of new cars.
The proposal comes as countries seek to lower their carbon footprint amid a warming planet. “We need to phase out CO2 emissions and we need to change our pattern of using fossil fuels if we want to save the Earth,” said Labor Party official Jan Vos.
Still, Vos recognizes that simply placing a ban on a certain kind of car is not a panacea for reducing the nation’s carbon footprint; the ban must be paired with efforts to increase the affordability of electric cars. “Transportation with your own car shouldn’t be something that only rich people can afford,” Vos said.
For Vos, that means improving battery technology such that people can take trips wherever they need to go without worrying about exhausting battery charge, Climate Connections reported. Likewise, Vos added that the government can add more charging stations throughout the country to help prepare for the ban.
Still, data suggest that the country is perhaps more prepared for such a ban than its other European counterparts — so much so that it may not seem all that necessary.
According to the European Alternative Fuels Observatory, there are approximately 20,000 recharging stations in the Netherlands, which is around the same amount as the UK and France combined.
Likewise, in 2013, the NGO Transport and Environment found that the Netherlands had the lowest CO2 emissions from new cars in the European Union that year, likely due to tax incentives which encouraged the purchase of plug-in hybrid cars. The break taxed low emission hybrids at 7 to 14 percent, compared to a 25 percent tax on average-emitting cars.
Experts estimate that these impressive figures may very well be short-lived, though. The tax break — which saw an all-time high sale of the plug-in hybrid vehicle last December and resulted in the country accounting for 30 percent of the vehicle’s sales in the entire continent — comes to an end this year. Just as critically, these plug-in hybrids will be illegal under the proposed ban.
Next, read about how beer-powered cars may also be helping to change the energy landscape.