Norway Might Try To Ban Gas-Powered Cars

A new proposal would get gas-guzzlers off the road in the next decade.
PhotoAlto/Bruno Veillard via Getty Images

Norway might try to leave gasoline in the dust.

The Scandinavian country's four major political parties reportedly agreed last week to ban the sale of gas- and diesel-powered cars by 2025, according to Electrek, citing a story in Norwegian paper Dagens Næringsliv. Though there's some dispute about whether all parties actually support the proposal, it appears to be more ambitious than similar plans that have been considered recently in other parts of the world.

India and the Netherlands have both batted around proposals to stop sales of gas-powered cars in the coming decades. Neither country has enacted a plan to see this through yet. In addition, several U.S. states, including New York and California, have weighed banning sales of gas-fueled cars by 2050. In contrast, Norway would seek to phase out gas-powered car sales much sooner.

The country has a history of enthusiasm for electric cars. In 2013, Norway installed charging stations for electric vehicles from the popular manufacturer Tesla, before any other European country got around to it. Thanks in part to some of the world’s sweetest tax breaks for electric vehicles, Norway registered 50,000 electric cars in April, a full two years before it had planned to do so.

Now, nearly a quarter of all new cars hitting Norwegian roads are electric, and the country boasts the highest proportion of electric vehicles of any nation.

Over half of Norway’s energy needs are met using renewable power sources. Since charging an electric car requires drawing power from the national power grid, switching to exclusively electric cars in Norway could cut greenhouse gas emissions morethan doing so in, say, the U.S., where renewables currently make up only 13 percent of the energy mix.

Despite embracing renewables at home, Norway remains one of the world’s largest exporters of petroleum, and oil wealth has funded much of the country’s vigorous renewable energy program. But low oil prices are rocking the country’s petroleum industry, and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has been divesting from fossil fuels in recent years.

It's not clear whether all the country's political parties are actually on board with a ban targeting gas-powered vehicle sales, however.

While the country’s two left-leaning parties confirmed their support for the plan, the two conservative parties denied agreeing to it, according to a report in Quartz. Per Sandberg, deputy leader of the country's right-wing Progress Party, said the proposal was "not realistic."

But the confusion didn’t stop Tesla CEO Elon Musk from congratulating Norway on a potential ban:

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