Norway moves to ban petrol car sales by 2025

A BMW i3 Electric Vehicle in Norway. Image courtesy of Flickr - Butz.2013
A BMW i3 Electric Vehicle in Norway. Image courtesy of Flickr - Butz.2013

Norway could claim the title of the first country in the world to ban the sale petrol-fueled cars.

According to reporting by Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv several of the country’s main political parties have agreed on a deal to ban the sale of these cars by 2025.

These reports have reporetedly been confirmed by two of the country’s major political parties however, another coalition partner, the FRP, is so far yet to commit to the proposal.

Should this ban become law, it would be a world-first and pave the way for Norway to become a leading market for electric vehicles.

Anticipating this, Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk tweeted: “Just heard that Norway will ban new sales of fuel cars in 2025. What an amazingly awesome country. You guys rock!”

A move away from petrol-fueled vehicles by Norway is all the more surprising given that a significant fraction of its GDP comes from oil extraction in the North Sea, and the country stands much to lose should the world move away from petroleum.

Norway petrol ban plans not concrete

Dagens Næringsliv quoted the Director of Energy and Environment Committee for the Norweign ‘Liberal’ Party, Ola Elvestuen, as having said: “there will only be sales of zero-emissions vehicles in 2025″.

However, after the report gained worldwide attention, a press release directly from the Norwegian Government coalition party, the Conservatives (Høyre), called the Dagens Næringsliv report “misleading”. The release stated that: “The government and its partners agree on a new step on the way towards a low-emission society… but there is no talk of banning the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles in 2025 as one would be led to believe in Dagens Næringsliv.”

A follow up statement from Ola Elvestuen attempted to clarify things further: “What we agree on is that, in the National Transport Plan, we will set a target figure for the number of low- and zero-emission vehicles in 2025 to follow up the agreed climate targets… How we will achieve the performance targets, which have described as ambitious, are not agreed. *

Already an EV early adopter

Despite the confusion over the potential policy, sales of low- or no-emissions vehicles are rapidly climbing in Norway, with the country being a notable early adopter of electric vehicles (EVs).

Last year sales of battery electric and petrol-hybrid electric vehicles reached 24% of all cars sold in the country.

Part of the reason for this is Norway’s relatively high level of average wages, combined with high-taxes on automobiles, resulting in EVs becoming a more attractive choice.

Other countries could follow suit

Beyond Norway, other countries are also reportedly looking to move forward with their own bans on the sale of petrol fuel cars.

India is in talks to bring in a 2030 ban on sales, while politicians in the Netherlands are also pushing for a 2025 target date.

Such bans could have a very positive impact on the market for electric as well as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs). In the same way that phasing out analogue TV signals spurred the growth of digital TV, petrol car bans would force manufacturers to bring in low-emissions technology into their main product lines.

This would in turn make the vehicles more attractive, lower production costs, and drive innovation in the sector, further accelerating the shift away from petrol engines.

* Quotes above from Ola Elvestuen and Høyre are translated from Norwegian. All efforts have been made to translate these quotes accurately but we assume no responsibility for any incorrect translations.