The European Union should halve the use of conventional cars in cities by 2030 to reduce pollution and lessen dependence on oil from a politically unstable Middle East, according to an EU policy paper.
The shift away from the 150-year-old combustion engine in urban transport should be completed by 2050, when all vehicles used in EU cities ought to be powered by low-emission technologies, the European Commission said. This would lower discharges blamed for climate change and smog, ease noise and cut an EU oil-import bill that totaled about 210 billion euros ($295 billion) last year, according to the commission.
Carmakers from Toyota Motor Corp. to Renault SA are speeding up development of electric vehicles and hybrid systems that can run on either gasoline or electricity as the EU cracks down on road emissions, including discharges of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that contribute to global warming. The 27-nation bloc will start capping CO2 from cars next year.
"The gradual phasing out of 'conventionally fueled' vehicles from the urban environment is a major contribution to significant reduction of oil dependence, greenhouse-gas emissions and local air and noise pollution," the commission, the EU's executive arm, said in the paper meant to foster policy debate. It mentions the need to develop fueling and charging infrastructure for new vehicles, to promote public transport -- including through road pricing -- and to facilitate walking and cycling.
The document, which is a part of the EU roadmap to shift to a low-carbon economy, also floats the idea of moving 30 percent of road freight traveling more than 300km to rail or waterborne transport by 2030. The commission also said the EU should triple the length of the existing high-speed rail network by that year.
The region, which aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by between 80 percent and 95 percent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels, should likewise expand the share of low-carbon fuels in aviation to 40 percent and cut CO2 emissions from maritime bunker fuels by 40 percent over the next four decades, the commission said.