The EU definitively prohibits the sale of vehicles that emit CO₂ from 2035

Kadri Simson

The European Union approved this Tuesday (03.28.2023) definitively the law that will prohibit, as of 2035, the sales in community territory of all new cars and vans that emit CO₂, after weeks of last-minute tensions due to the surprise blockade of Germany. EU law will require all new cars sold to have zero emissions from 2035 and 55% fewer CO₂ emissions from 2030 compared to 2021 levels.

The targets are designed to drive the rapid decarbonization of new car fleets in Europe. The Swedish delegation (which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU) already informed yesterday that the new agreement was going to be included today in the agenda of the meeting of energy ministers of the EU for its formal adoption. They approved the law today with 23 votes in favor, the abstentions of Romania, Bulgaria and Italy and a vote against Poland. Germany voted in favor after the European Commission (EC) and Berlin reached an agreement this weekend.

“It does not change the text agreed with the European Parliament” but “provides details on the next steps in the application of the regulation” to incorporate synthetic fuels or “e-fuels” into community regulations, summarized the European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri simson. These are artificial fuels – and currently prohibitively expensive – that are produced from green hydrogen and carbon dioxide, but they are climate neutral because they only emit previously captured CO₂ and can be used in vehicles with combustion engines.

The “e-fuels” were already mentioned in the negotiated text, at the request of Germany and Italy, but the Commission gave itself until 2026 to return to the issue and allow this technology to evolve in that period of time. Italy, in fact, considers that the interpretation adopted regarding “e-fuels” is “very restrictive” and has asked the Commission to include biofuels (obtained from vegetable biomass) in the following legislative steps that it undertakes to find a niche to synthetic fuels .