The transition to electric vehicles from gas-powered vehicles is essential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as air pollution in general. Currently, transportation is responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
There is no doubt that there is surging interest in electric cars. There are now millions of them being sold around the world each year. But they still represent a small fraction of new car sales in most places. Notable exceptions are several European countries such as Norway and Switzerland where plug-in vehicles are dominant. In the United States, on the other hand, EVs still represent less than 3% of new car sales.
Given the urgency in reducing vehicle emissions, many countries around the world have devised plans, goals, or laws to end the sale of gasoline cars. Gas car bans vary quite a bit around the world, but they are being implemented in many places.
There are 28 countries and US states that have imposed gas car bans to take effect over the next five to 20 years. These include European countries like Norway, Belgium, Austria, Netherlands, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden, Scotland, Slovenia, the UK, France, and Spain. Asian countries include South Korea, India, Japan, China, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan. In the Middle East, Israel and Egypt have announced bans. Here in the US, New York and California both have bans starting in 2035. Canada also has announced a ban.
Car manufacturers have seen the writing on the wall. Most have started adding EVs to their lineups. Many have announced their own timetables for phasing out gas cars entirely. There are more than 15 new electric models available this year and there are many more to follow next year.
Photo, posted January 24, 2009, courtesy of Oran Viriyincy via Flickr.