France will end the sale of petrol or diesel vehicles between now and 2040, its environment minister Nicolas Hulot has said.
Speaking at a press conference today, Hulot announced the measure as part of a wider plan to halt investment in petrol, diesel and gas projects. The new government wants to make France a carbon neutral country by 2050.
The government says the first step towards the combustion engine ban will be to offer citizens financial incentives to scrap diesel cars built before 1997 and petrol cars built before 2001. The plan is designed to encourage the purchase of new, lower-emitting models.
France joins other European countries including Germany, the Netherlands and Norway with its planned combustion engine ban. Germany wants to stop the sale of them from 2030, while the latter countries are targeting to implement the ban from 2025. India also intends to stop petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2030.
The British government announced plans to outlaw combustion engine vehicles from our roads from 2050, but it would do this by making it impossible for them to pass the MOT test, rather than banning them directly.
France’s latest announcement comes soon after newly elected president Emmanuel Macron revealed his intentions to make France a leading country in the fight against climate change, saying he wanted to "make the planet great again”.
The comment was a take on US president Donald Trump’s election campaign slogan “Make America great again”, and was made after Trump withdrew the US from the Paris climate accords, a United Nations agreement to tackle climate change.
Macron said his plan would involve supporting private organisations, such as car manufacturers. The PSA Group has already outlined plans to electrify the model ranges of its brands, Citroën, DS and Peugeot, with a new ‘multi-energy’ platform due to reach the market in 2019.