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These Countries Are Banning Petrol: Surprising Secrets Exposed

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The Paris Climate Agreement and more recent COP26 or Glasgow Climate Pact allowed nearly 200 countries to negotiate possible actions to substantially reduce harmful emissions, leading to many pledging a ban on fossil fuel vehicle sales before or by 2040. 

Here’s what countries like Norway, China, and the US are doing to reduce emissions and how things are looking for future fossil fuel vehicle sales for SA citizens like you and me. 

In this article, you will:

  • Discover why fossil fuel vehicles, also known as ICE vehicles, harm the environment
  • Learn about when and how different countries will ban the sales of fossil fuel vehicles
  • Pin down the pros and cons of fossil fuel-powered vehicles
  • Find out if South Africa has plans to ban petrol and diesel vehicle sales
  • Discover how Cartrack can help you transition to an EV-powered fleet

Why there’s a global need to fight climate change with clean energy

Climate change should be a well-versed concept with most global citizens by now, posing an existential threat to human existence due to harmful man-made emissions, subsequent planetary warming, and other disastrous consequences. With harmful emissions increasing annually, reducing greenhouse gas emissions has become a global priority.

Should fuel-run vehicles be banned? What the experts say

Three experts in the fields of economics and business administration have weighed in on whether banning ICE (Internal Combustion Engines )vehicles is beneficial and feasible.

Andrew Yates, professor at Chapel Hill, Stephen Holland, professor at the University of North Carolina, and Andrew Mansur, professor at Dartmouth College, agree that banning ICE vehicles will have significant climate-related benefits. However, the current solution, primarily EVs, could be a viable substitution to keep the global economy going.

With the three experts agreeing that EV (Electric Vehicles) vehicles have high positive transformative potential, they conclude that banning fossil fuel vehicles will be beneficial as long as the benefits and costs for this transition are carefully balanced.

Pros and cons of fossil fuel cars

The first thing you need to know about fossil fuel vehicles is how they are powered and what keeps them moving. Fossil fuel vehicles use internal combustion engines that require petrol, diesel, or kerosene and are also known as ICE vehicles.

While there are some concerning after-effects to using fossil fuel cars, there are also some thought-provoking pros, so let’s unpack the good and the bad of fossil fuel cars:

  • Fossil fuel vehicles utilise a more reliable energy source. Sparse charging points can affect long-distance driving, while a tank of petrol lasts longer and filling up is easier. 
  • ICE vehicles are also significantly cheaper than EVs, making it easier for most people to acquire and use, especially in South Africa. 
  • Fossil fuel-powered vehicles are notorious for emitting dangerous greenhouse gases and being bad for the environment, making them a fairly unsustainable future fuel source. 
  • Fossil fuel-powered vehicles can be dangerous if treated irresponsibly. Besides being highly flammable, the unearthing process can cause devastating oil spills and a toxic environment.

Want to know which vehicles are being phased out? Here are some examples of fossil fuel vehicles

Passenger vehicles like cars and buses make out the majority of fossil fuel vehicles on the road today. Popular cars on South African Roads include bakkies, SUVs, hatchbacks, taxis, and buses. These means of transport primarily depend on fossil fuels, which need to be replaced with a cleaner and more sustainable energy source.

Their secrets exposed: A list of top countries banning fossil fuel vehicles

While there is a whole list of countries banning fossil fuel vehicles, some of them plan to make it happen sooner rather than later. Countries like Britain, Israel and Singapore, for example, all have matching goals of banning ICE vehicle sales by 2030, with other countries across the globe making plans with a similar sense of urgency.

Norway: Banning all ICE vehicle sales by 2025

With a consensus between left and right-leaning political parties established, Norway is all set to switch to a full-EV mode in 2025. A quarter of all vehicles in this small European country already consist of EVs, making the year 2025 that much more attainable.

Apart from a decent percentage of EVs as part of Norway’s overall vehicle count, residents also like to travel via bicycle, and the country is currently one of the most bicycle-friendly countries in the world — further contributing to the country’s promising attempt to minimise its carbon footprint.

The EU: Aiming for 2035 with a minor setback from Germany

With its power grid under pressure due to a drastic decrease in gas supply from Russia, Europe is facing blackouts if citizens don’t make an urgent effort to limit their energy usage. While these blackouts threaten the EU’s plans to ban fossil fuel vehicle sales, the need for increased sustainability is making them stick to their decision with only a minor change.

EU legislators successfully voted to ban sales of ICE vehicles by 2035, with the legislation subsequently approved by the EU parliament. However, Germany caused a setback by changing its stance to still-approved sales of ICE vehicles beyond the agreed deadline, as long as these vehicles run on synthetic fuels.

This happened before the final vote, complicating things. According to a Twitter statement by German transport minister Volker Wissing, the final agreement is that ICE vehicles can still be registered post-2035 if these vehicles exclusively run on CO2-neutral fuels.

China’s setting its sights on 2030

China is experiencing a significant increase in EV vehicle sales, and the country plans to reduce ICE car sales to only 50% by 2035. The other 50% of new car sales will be EVs, hybrids, or fuel-cell vehicles.

The US is looking at 2035

As a country that covers a vast stretch of land with a centuries-cold urban design that makes most residents wholly reliant on vehicles, phasing out ICE cars by 2035 will be challenging. Luckily, the US is ready to take on this mission on a State-by-State basis, with large states like California already mandating a 35% EV sales increase of its total car sales by 2026 with its Advanced Clean Car II Regulations.

Burning questions answered: Why are countries banning petrol?

  1. What countries are banning petrol?

    Banning petrol and other fossil fuels translates to banning ICE vehicles, and about 30 countries and states worldwide have pledged to achieve this goal before or by 2040. Developed countries include Canada, Germany, China, Italy, Japan, and the UK. Developed countries include Kenya, India, Cambodia, Mexico, and Rwanda.
  2. What country does not use fossil fuels?

    There is currently no country that is a hundred per cent fossil fuel-free; however, a few are notably more independent, with some major cities running exclusively on renewable energy.

    For example, Iceland’s fossil fuel usage contributes a mere 11% to its overall energy requirements, with other countries like Tajikistan, Sweden, and Switzerland close on their heels. Cities running entirely on renewable energy include Greensburg, Kansas; Aspen, Colorado; and Burlington, Vermont.
  3. Will petrol cars be banned in Australia?

    Australia is not one of the countries that pledged a nationwide ban on ICE vehicles by 2040. However, due to the EU and other key countries’ bans, the lack of production will affect Australian consumers’ ability to purchase fossil fuel vehicles.

    Moreover, while there is no nationwide ban, ACT or the Australian Capital Territory announced that it is implementing an ICE vehicle ban in its jurisdiction, covering several major Australian cities.
  4. What will happen to classic cars when petrol is banned?

    While it’s impossible to confirm if and when petrol will be banned, vehicles using petrol will eventually be completely phased out.

    Now, before we start picturing vehicle scrapyards bursting at the seams, it’s important to note that LPG gas conversions and synthetic EV kit installations are both viable repurposing options. And, as ICE vehicles have an estimated lifespan of fifteen years, it is safe to assume that once the most recently-sold ICE vehicles reach this age, they’re likely to have been repurposed in one of these ways.
  5. When will petrol stop being sold?

    Fuel sales will likely decrease with the phasing out of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles in so many countries in the next decade or two. However, if and when the sale of petrol will be stopped completely remains to be seen as it serves other purposes than fuelling ICE vehicles like energy production.


Here’s what’s in store for Mzansi

It’s safe to say that banning ICE vehicles in South Africa may be a lot more complicated than in other countries, as fossil fuel cars are currently an integral part of our transport system and economy. Another issue affecting South Africans is ever-present load shedding, and a rising number of EVs’ charging requirements will undoubtedly place significant strain on an already fragile grid.

However, Mzansi still needs to meet its revised NDC or Nationally Determined Contribution as set out by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which requires a 350 - 420 million tonnes reduction by 2030. Achieving this goal will undoubtedly require a dramatic reduction in ICE vehicles on the road, as almost 90% of transport emissions in SA are from road-based transport.

South Africa is currently considering a ban on ICE vehicles for freight and passenger use by 2035 in conjunction with the large-scale construction of Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure.

With EVs becoming more affordable as technological developments progress, the preferred use of EV vehicles is starting to look like a reality for SA motorists and companies.

Cartrack can help you with a seamless transition to an EV-powered fleet

Doing a complete EV transition may not be viable for many companies. However, a gradual change from ICE vehicles to EVs still helps your company contribute to a greener future.

Cartrack’s sophisticated fleet management system allows you to:

  • Conduct effective route planning that helps alleviate waste and unnecessary costs and identify crucial charging points for EV vehicles. 
  • Help your drivers improve their driving behaviour with detailed driver reports that identify excessive idling and speeding. 
  • Use MiFleet accounting software to boost your fleet’s productivity, optimising vehicle health with scheduled maintenance reports, tyre lifespan tracking, and vehicle mileage tracking. 

The healthier your vehicles, the more sustainable your fleet, so don’t let defective combustion, poor vehicle health, and dysfunctional motor parts stand in your way of achieving a greener, more sustainable fleet.

Whether you own a personal vehicle or manage an entire fleet, Cartrack is your partner in building a greener, more sustainable future. Contact us today!

Countries around the world are getting serious about banning fossil fuel-powered vehicles: Here’s what they’re doing and why.