Norway could ban new fuel-powered cars by 2025

Norwegian politicians have reportedly agreed on a policy to ban new fuel car sales after 2025, a move that will propel the world's leading adopter of electric vehicles towards universal EV ownership.

Is the country with the world’s highest adoption of electric vehicles about to take another giant leap towards becoming a nation with no fuel-powered cars?

Norway’s four main political parties have reportedly agreed on a law that will ban the sale of new fuel-powered cars by 2025.

The agreement, first revealed in Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv last Friday, was confirmed by two of the country’s left-leaning parties. However, it was denied by the other two groups on the political right in another publication

The news comes shortly after the Norwegian Parliament’s recent pledge that all government purchasing will be from deforestation-free supply chains. Observers say this commitment makes Norway the first country to commit to zero deforestation in its public procurement.

The Scandinavian country, traditionally a major oil exporter, also aims to have about 67 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. In 2013, Norway announced a US$3.3 billion investment into eight new wind farms in a bid to triple its wind generation capacity to more than two gigawatts by 2020.

If confirmed and passed into law, the vehicle policy would also make Norway the world’s first nation to ban new fossil fuel-based cars, ahead of The Netherlands, which is debating a similar law, and India, which wants to become a fully electric vehicle (EV) nation by 2030.

Norway is already a global leader in EV adoption with the world’s highest use of plug-in EVs per capita. Close to a quarter of all newly registered automobiles in the country last year were also electric or hybrid vehicles. The high EV adoption rates continued this year, with more than 17,000 vehicles registered between January and March. 

This is miles ahead of the second largest market for EVs, the Netherlands,where 1.8 per cent of all new vehicle registrations in the first three months of 2016 were EVs, according to information services provider IHS.

Norway’s success in promoting EV ownership has been due to a slew of incentives for EV owners, ranging from permission to use bus lanes and free public parking, to tax rebates and lower road taxes than other cars. 

While official confirmation of Norway’s ban on fuel-powered cars after 2025 is still pending, the news of the agreement has been welcomed by public and private sector leaders alike.

Norwegian environment minister Vidar Helgesen last Friday tweeted his support of the plan, with EV giant Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk celebrating the announcement a day later as well.

“Just heard that Norway will ban new sales of fuel cars in 2025,” said Musk. “What an amazingly awesome country”.

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