Over the summer, a series of headlines forecast the imminent demise of gas and diesel vehicles in Norway, the Netherlands, and Germany. Now, Germany has taken the additional step of calling for a ban on petroleum-powered vehicles across the entire European Union.
The country's Bundesrat accomplished that feat by passing a resolution urging the EU to allow only the sale of zero-emission vehicles as of 2030.
The resolution has no immediate effect in Germany or elsewhere; due to the terms of the EU membership agreement, the approval of vehicles is handled by regulators in Belgium, not by individual member nations.
That said, due to its size and the strength of its economy, Germany holds considerable sway over its European peers. What Deutschland wants, Deutschland often gets.
Adding to the weight of the resolution is the fact that it's come from the EU nation with the largest auto industry and auto market. If a smaller nation had passed a similar proposal, it might not stand much chance of passage, but because the document was put forward by a country that depends heavily on the auto industry, it carries greater force.
If you're wondering why Germany might pass such a resolution now, much of the answer lies with the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal. For years, Volkswagen insisted that its "clean diesel" vehicles were just as eco-friendly as electric cars--statements that were very, very untrue.
Chastised and scorned, with European demand for diesels beginning to soften after decades of gains and EV-friendly regulations on the horizon, Volkswagen may have finally seen the light. In recent months, the company's CEO, Matthias Muller, has promised more than 30 new electric models by the year 2025.
And even if the EU doesn't pass the ban that Germany has requested, Germany appears ready to speed toward a zero-emissions future on its own. It's already implemented higher taxes on fossil fuels, and it's offering healthy incentives on zero-emission vehicles.
For more on this, visit our colleagues at Green Car Reports.