France to Ban Sales of Gas, Diesel Vehicles by 2040

Friday, 07 Jul, 2017

Hulot cited Volvo as an example in making his surprise announcement, part of the government's new stated plan to make France carbon neutral by 2050.

Earlier this week, auto manufacturer Volvo said all of its cars would be at least partly electric from 2019, an announcement referenced by Mr Hulot.

France's goal of gasoline- and diesel-free cars comes one day after Volvo announced it would stop manufacturing vehicles with conventional engines by 2018, producing instead only all-electric and hybrid vehicles. The country also aims to restrict the use of palm oil in the production of biofuels with the hopes of reducing indirect deforestation.

Hulot made the announcement Thursday in Paris as he launched the country's new Climate Plan to accelerate the transition to clean energy and to meet its targets under the Paris climate agreement.

The plan, more details of which were published July 6, will make combating climate change "irreversible" both in the domestic and global arenas - a response to an election manifesto pledge by the United States president, Donald Trump, to pull his country out of the Paris Climate Agreement, which he formalised at the start of June.

France is one of several European and Asian countries that have said they want to dramatically reduce the amount of polluting petrol and diesel cars on their roads.

Describing the end of petrol and diesel sales as a "public health" issue, Hulot said: "We are announcing the end of the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2040".

France is by no means the only country aiming to ban combustion-powered cars in some form. The Netherlands, Norway, India, and Germany have made motions to go fully electric with vehicles too, but none have yet passed legislation. But it's a sign of France's desire to be a leader in sustainable energy after the departure of the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

The comment was a take on USA president Donald Trump's election campaign slogan "make America great again", and was made after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accords, a United Nations (UN) agreement to tackle climate change.

Now in France, only 1.2 percent of new vehicles are electric.