Bloomberg: Petrol and diesel bans reaching critical mass in European cities

Businesses with fleets across mainland Europe will have to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles within a decade or risk losing business in key cities, new research from Bloomberg has suggested.

London is one of 13 European cities which has already implemented restrictions on petrol and diesel vehicles

London is one of 13 European cities which has already implemented restrictions on petrol and diesel vehicles

Commissioned by Bloomberg’s automotive editor Elisabeth Behrmann, the research found that 24 of Europe’s major cities will be implemented bans on diesel road vehicles within the next 10 years. 

Moreover, 13 of these cities, including Barcelona, Rome and Manchester, will also be placing more stringent restrictions on petrol vehicles within the same timeframe. In total, these phase-outs will cover 62 million people and 12.6 million passenger cars.

The city where the most vehicles will be affected, Bloomberg claims, is Paris, where 3.4 million diesel vehicles will need to be phased out by 2030. In Paris, diesel vehicles with pre-2005 registration plates are banned from entering the inner city on weekdays.

The French capital is followed closely by Madrid, at 3.3 million vehicles affected by 2030. The city has been placing restrictions on pre-2000 petrol cars and pre-2006 diesel cars since December 2018.

London comes in at third, with 2.5 million petrol and diesel cars thought to be affected by the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) introduced by city Mayor Sadiq Khan in April.

Bloomberg’s research was carried out in partnership with German automotive industry consultant Berylls Strategy Advisors, which has warned that, despite strong ambitions from cities, not enough is being done to help residents switch from privately owned, fossil-fuel-powered vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) or public transport.

The consultancy noted that fully electric and plug-in-hybrid cars collectively accounted for just 3% of sales in Europe last year, amid consumer concerns around cost and range. However, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has previously predicted that this proportion could rise to 40% in Germany and as much as 60% in other nations by 2040.

Clean transport concerns 

Berylls Strategy Advisors is not alone in voicing concerns that more must be done not just to enable the EV revolution among domestic consumers, but to drive "modal switch" - getting people to walk, cycle, use shared mobility options or take public transport wherever possible. 

On Monday (29 July), BEIS Committee chair Rachel Reeves MP sent a letter to the Department's new Secretary Andrea Leadsom, urging her to bring the UK's petrol and diesel car sales ban forward, and to complement the legislation with stronger EV and public transport investment. 

Similar concerns have been voiced to BEIS by the likes of Sadiq Khan, The Green Alliance, Greener Journeys, and even Shell

In response, the Government recently launched what it claims is the biggest review into the future of transport in UK history - a move which includes an exploration of how a £90m investment could spur new regulations that would improve the uptake of low-carbon mobility across UK towns and cities.

Sarah George



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