Progress toward an agreement had stalled earlier this month due to Berlin’s demand for exemptions © Getty Images / Thorsten Nilson / EyeEm
Germany and the EU have reached an agreement in their dispute over Brussels’ plan to ban combustion engines starting in 2035, EU officials announced on Saturday. According to tweets by European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and German Transport Minister Volker Wissing, Brussels has agreed to allow new vehicles with combustion engines to be registered even after 2035 if they use climate-neutral fuel.
“We have found an agreement with Germany on the future use of e-fuels in cars,” Timmermans wrote on Twitter.
The initial EU proposal on new carbon dioxide emission standards for cars envisaged a complete ban on sales of any new cars that operate using combustion engines starting in 2035. The plan was set to be adopted in early March, but Germany opposed the move, demanding an exemption for cars that run on so-called e-fuels, which are combustible synthetic liquid fuels made from combining captured carbon dioxide with renewable hydrogen.
Berlin argued such fuels are produced using renewable energy and carbon captured from the air and thus don’t release damaging emissions into the atmosphere. German officials also stressed that banning combustion engines completely could harm the entire European auto industry, which “needs e-fuels because there is no alternative to operating our existing fleet in a climate-neutral manner.”
“Vehicles with internal combustion engines can still be newly registered after 2035 if they fill up exclusively with CO2-neutral fuels,” Wissing wrote on Twitter.
EU diplomats are now set to formally approve the phasing out of combustion engines in a vote on Monday.
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