German Chancellor Angela Merkel has implied that Germany is considering an eventual ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars, following in the footsteps of France, India, Britain, and several other countries looking to curb emissions.
Germany’s auto market took a massive hit at the height of the Dieselgate scandal, especially since diesel vehicles account for a much larger percentage of vehicle sales in Europe than they do in the US, where consumers tend to prefer larger displacement engines and quicker acceleration from petrol engines in cars over the lower power but better fuel economy afforded by diesels.
Britain has recently taken high-profile drastic action in the pursuit of cleaner air, announcing a full ban on the sale of gas and diesel cars by 2040, following a similar announcement by France earlier in July.
This ban would be especially concerning to Germany, however, given that even after the scandal, Volkswagen is still right there among the world’s largest car manufacturers, and the other German marques like Mercedes, BMW and Porsche are nipping at its heels. Such a plan could be disastrous for the sales of these groups, though they’re large enough in other worldwide markets by now that it would be unlikely to cause crippling damage.
Bans like these have been one of the most controversial steps in the name of reducing global warming, but are gradually becoming more popular, and major countries imposing them could encourage smaller countries to follow suit. The US is unlikely to do so any time in the future, however, given the more corporate-friendly political climate coupled with President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.