ENVIRONMENT: Norway Plans to Ban Fossil Fuel Vehicles, or Do They?

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Fossil fuels aren’t going to last forever and they aren’t so great for the environment. We all know this, yet most of us are still driving gas or diesel vehicles. Earlier this year, Norway came up with a plan to end sales of vehicles powered by fossil fuels by 2025. This caused concern among the masses.

Electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could take the place of the polluting monstrosities we drive today, but it’s one thing to be given that choice and another to have it forced. The proposal started with completely removing gas and diesel cars from Norway’s roads by 2025.

That would mean everyone who drives one of these cars now would be faced with buying a new car, like it or not. It was no surprise that the bill was toned down a bit to merely eliminate the sale of new gas and diesel vehicles while still allowing those who already own these cars to continue driving.

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The panic-inducing proposal, which was part of Norway’s National Transportation Plan for 2018 and 2019, was an aggressive piece of legislation. Now Norway is back-pedalling and saying they never had plans to ban these cars outright.

Instead, they’re saying that they want to encourage people to use more environmentally-friendly methods for getting around, but they never had plans to force anyone to do anything. They’re focusing on incentives that will gradually phase out the use of fossil fuel vehicles without needing bans.

Despite reports that there was a ban included in the proposed legislation, they’re saying that was never the case. Either way, banning gas vehicles wouldn’t be as big a deal for Norway as it would be for the US since they already have so many electrics on their roads.

Roughly a third of new cars sold in Norway are electric, versus the one in 100 sold in the US. Norway is already on track to say goodbye to gas vehicles before the rest of the world.

They hope that continued incentives to make electrics affordable and improvements in technology will make that switch happen even sooner. An outright ban, however, seems to be a moot point.

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Other areas in the world are having less success with waiting on the public to go green. Pollution is so bad in Paris that they no longer let cars built after 1997 into the city and periodically institute bans to reduce traffic flow and improve air quality.

Drivers in Norway, however, can hold on to their old fossil fuel cars for a bit longer.

Image: Mashhour Halawani

Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin