Europe’s cities could be free of petrol- and diesel-fueled cars by 2050, under “very radical, very ambitious” targets set out by the European Commission yesterday.
European Commission, the executive body of the EU, wants 50 percent of Europe’s vehicles to be zero emissions by 2030 and conventionally fuelled vehicles to be banned from cities altogether by 2050.
Hybrid, electric, and fuel cell cars would receive continued support from governments in the meantime, through policies intended to support research and development, incentives for consumers and manufacturers, and adjusted taxes and fees on conventional vehicles.
The white paper reminds that “If we do not address this oil dependence, people’s ability to travel – and our economic security – could be severely impacted with dire consequences on inflation, trade balance and the overall competitiveness of the EU economy.”
The document says that by 2050 the majority of medium-distance passenger journeys – those above about 190 miles – should be by rail and more than half of road freight travelling more than 190 miles should move to rail or boat (30% by 2030).
All core network airports should be connected to the rail network by 2050, with all core seaports “sufficiently connected to the rail freight and, where possible, inland waterway system”.
However, Ivan Hodac, secretary general of the automobile industry’s trade association (ACEA), said it is a mistake to call for road freight transport in excess of 300km to be shifted to rail or waterborne transport.
The Association of British Drivers rejected the proposal to ban cars as economically disastrous and as a “crazy” restriction on mobility.
“I suggest that he goes and finds himself a space in the local mental asylum,” said Hugh Bladon, a spokesman for the BDA.
Last year, the oil import bill was around €210 billion for the Europe, which still depends on oil and oil products for 96 per cent of its transport energy needs.