The European Union (EU) has agreed on one of its most ambitious and far-reaching elements of its Green Deal: a ban on new sales of combustion-engine cars as of 2035.
The regulation imposes a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions by the cut-off date, effectively prohibiting the purchase of new passenger cars and vans powered by fossil fuels, such as diesel and petrol, across the single market.
The deal was made official during a meeting of energy and transports ministers in Brussels, where the regulation was given the final approval.
Following a last-minute campaign by Germany, the 2035 ban will exempt vehicles that run exclusively on e-fuels, a nascent technology that combines hydrogen and carbon dioxide to produce synthetic fuels.
E-fuels are burnt in an engine and therefore release emissions into the atmosphere, but proponents argue their production process can be climate-neutral and offset the pollution. The Commission is now expected to unveil further steps on how to implement the e-fuels exemption.