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France Plans To Ban All Gasoline Vehicles By 2040

| by Robert Fowler

French President Emmanuel Macron's administration has announced a plan to ban the sale of fossil fuel vehicles by 2040. The ambitious goal is part of Macron's initiative to make France carbon neutral by 2050.

On July 6, French environment minister Nicolas Hulot announced the upcoming prohibition against petrol and diesel vehicles during a press conference.

"We want to demonstrate that fighting against climate change can lead to an improvement of French people's daily lives," Hulot said, according to the Independent.

The environmental minister unveiled a series of other measures to curb carbon emissions, noting that President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord had prompted the Macron administration to take more aggressive action against climate change.

"France has decided to become carbon neutral by 2050 following the U.S. decision," Hulot said.

Hulot's plan aims to both discourage the manufacturing of future petrol and diesel cars as well as getting existing models off of the streets. While automobile manufacturers would be forbidden from selling petrol and diesel vehicles, low-income households that already rely on fossil fuel vehicles would receive financial assistance, according to Fortune.

Hulot stated that these households would be given "a [financial incentive] to replace their diesel car dating before 1997 or petrol from before 2001 by a new or secondhand vehicle."

The Macron administration also plans to phase out coal power by 2022 and slashing the use of nuclear power in half by 2025. France will also no longer issue any further exploration licenses to the fossil fuel industry.

Currently, only 3.5 percent of the vehicles driven in France are hybrids while only 1.2 percent rely solely on electricity. 95 percent of vehicles sold in Europe are powered by fossil fuels, the BBC reports.

France is the fifth country to announce a prohibition on petrol and diesel vehicles. The Netherlands and Norway have committed to banning fossil fuel vehicles by 2025, while Germany and India will implement similar bans by 2030.

The private sector has already signaled a pivot away from fossil fuels. On July 5, Swedish car manufacturer Volvo announced it would sell only hybrid or electric-powered vehicles starting in 2019.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance has forecasted that electric vehicles will make up more than half of worldwide sales by 2040, according their 2017 Electric Vehicle Outlook report.

"The EV revolution is going to hit the car market even harder and faster than BNEF predicted a year ago," the research organization forecasted. "EVs are on track to accelerate to 54 percent of new car sales by 2040. Tumbling battery prices mean that EVs will have lower lifetime costs, and will be cheaper to buy, than international combustion engine (ICE) cars in most countries by 2025-29."

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