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France Vows to End Sales of Gas, Diesel Cars by 2040

  • VOA News

FILE - French Minister of Ecological and Inclusive Transition Nicolas Hulot steps off a train next to the head of the French national state-owned railway company SNCF. He recently announced France would stop selling conventional cars by 2040.

France will stop selling gasoline and diesel cars by 2040.

The move, announced by the country’s ecology minister Nicolas Hulot, is part of a plan to meet emissions targets set forth in the Paris climate accord.

"We are announcing an end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040," Hulot said, adding that it would be a "veritable revolution."

Saying the goal would be “tough” to accomplish, he added that French carmakers such as Peugeot-Citroen and Renault would be able to handle the changes. France is the biggest manufacturer of electric cars sold in Europe.

France is the latest country to focus on electric cars. India has said it wants all cars sold there to be electric by 2030. Norway has said it will stop selling gasoline and diesel cars by 2025, and Germany is aiming to have 1 million electric cars on its roads by 2020.

In 2016, the largest market in the world for electric cars was China, where more than 500,000 were sold.

On Wednesday, Volvo announced it would stop producing cars with conventional engines by 2019.

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), only 3.6 percent of cars sold in Western Europe in 2016 were hybrid or electric.

Hulot said getting conventional cars off the road was important to “public health” as several French cities, including Paris and Lyon have recurring issues with air pollution. Hulot said the move was part of the country’s plan to be carbon neutral by 2050.

To that end, he announced last month that France would no longer give licenses for oil and gas exploration in France and its overseas territories.

"One of the symbolic acts of the plan is that France, which previously had made the promise to divide its greenhouse gas emissions by four by 2050, has decided to become carbon neutral by 2050 following the U.S. decision," Hulot said."The carbon neutral objective will force us to make the necessary investments.”

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris pact saying it would be unfair to American businesses and too expensive for taxpayers.

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