Europe's biggest cities are forcing the pace of change on automakers.

By Geoffrey Smith
October 12, 2017

Paris wants to ban all cars with traditional combustion engines from its streets by 2030, in the latest sign of how environmental concerns are increasingly dictating the rules of the game for the auto sector.

“Transport is one of the main greenhouse gas producers… so we are planning an exit from combustion engine vehicles, or fossil-energy vehicles, by 2030,” Christophe Nadjovski, an official responsible for transport policy at city hall, told the ratio station France Info.

The new plans, if implemented, will increase pressure on the car industry to adopt both new engine technology, and new patterns of mobility, as twin concerns over Climate Change and air quality increasingly trump the traditional lobbying power of carmakers.

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The French capital has already said it will ban diesel-powered cars – which account for more than 40% of the total on French roads – from 2024, while the government of new President Emmanuel Macron has promised to ban the sale of traditional combustion engine-powered cars from 2040. French health authorities estimate that air pollution causes more early deaths than anything except alcohol and tobacco. Macron’s government is also phasing out long-standing tax incentives for diesel from next year, which were put in place to promote a fuel that generates less carbon dioxide than gasoline.

France Info reported that City Hall had unveiled its intentions at a meeting of its climate committee Wednesday. The plans are yet to be formally adopted.

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Paris was one of the first major cities in Europe to announce such bans last year, and cities such as London, Barcelona and even Stuttgart, the home of Mercedes-Benz, have since followed with similar initiatives. Elsewhere Wednesday, Oxford in England also unveiled proposals to create a “zero-emission zone” from 2020. That will initially concentrate on a handful of streets in the very center of the city, but will expand to cover almost all of its historic places of interest by 2030.

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