Is the EU Banning Petrol and Diesel Cars by 2035?

The European Union finally decided on the start date for the ban on petrol and diesel car sales. Beginning in 2035, manufacturers will no longer be allowed to sell combustion-powered vehicles in any of the EU’s 27 countries. The European Commission and the European Parliament reached the decision towards the fourth quarter of 2022.

The ban covers all vehicles that release carbon dioxide (CO2), which means petrol and diesel vehicles, including plug-ins and hybrids that emit some amount of CO2. Only battery-powered EVs (electric vehicles) and cars that use hydrogen fuel for generating electricity shall be sold throughout Europe.

Nearing the cutoff date, authorities are expected to announce more rulings as both the government and the public prepare for the shift to EVs. 

Based on the updated proposals, reduction levels are expected to go as high as 55% of the 2021 numbers by the year 2030.  

For commercial vehicles and vans, the rulings are different – using 2021 levels as the basis, emissions must be reduced by at least 50% by the year 2030 and by 2035, the reduction should already be 100%.

Carmakers that manufacture less than 10,000 cars or 22,000 vans every year are given an extension of 12 months going to the 2035 cutoff (which moves their cutoff to 2036). Additionally, the carmakers are allowed to request to change their intermediate target. Meanwhile, carmakers that produce lower than 1,000 vehicles every year are exempted. 

Authorities guarantee that a bi-annual report will be published starting in the year 2024 as part of the evaluation process for the zero-emissions goal. As such, amending the current targets is possible before the 2035 cutoff.

While the EU ban on new petrol and diesel car sales will not directly affect owners and drivers of older car models, they are expected to pay the charges of the expanded Ultra-Low Emissions Zones. 


The European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association is encouraging policymakers in Europe to employ stricter policies or rulings to help enable zero-emissions mobility conditions. 

Brussels’ Transport & Environment campaign group’s Juliana Poliscanova, on the other hand, is confident that the decision has cut short the days of dangerous and dirty combustion-powered engines. Soon, there will no longer be carbon-spewing petrol and diesel vehicles on European roads.

BMW CEO Oliver Zipse expects the European Union to be the first in the region (and the world) to shift to all-electric vehicles. Zipse believes that Europe’s automobile industry is capable of producing zero-emission vehicles. Nevertheless, he also stressed the importance of ensuring efficient framework conditions that will help the region meet the zero-emissions target.

Why a shift to EVs is necessary

Electric vehicles do not release dangerous emissions. Petrol and diesel vehicles are heavy pollutants. Diesel, for example, emits nitrogen oxides or NOx, a group of gases that is highly reactive and has adverse effects on human health and the environment.

NOx has been around for years but gained prominence in 2015 when the Dieselgate scandal involving the Volkswagen Group first broke. In September of that year, illegal defeat devices were allegedly found in thousands of VW and Audi diesel vehicles sold across the United States. The devices are used to cheat on emissions tests. 

More specifically, a defeat device detects when a vehicle is brought to the lab for regulatory testing. Once this happens, the device artificially lowers emissions to levels that are within the World Health Organization’s (WHO) mandated limits. While the vehicle appears safe and emissions-compliant, this is only true during testing conditions. When the vehicle is driven outside laboratory conditions, it emits massive volumes of NOx.  As such, a defeat device-equipped vehicle is a heavy pollutant.

Authorities believed that VW deliberately cheated on their customers when they mis-sold the vehicles as environmentally friendly and emissions-compliant. The carmaker had to recall hundreds of thousands of affected vehicles for emissions correction. Additionally, they’ve had to pay fees, fines, and compensation – something that they continue to do today.

Other carmakers that allegedly used illegal defeat devices include BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, and Vauxhall, among many others. The list gets longer every year as more carmakers are implicated in the diesel emissions fiasco.

These carmakers exposed affected drivers to NOx emissions, which can cause the following health impacts:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Asthma
  • Pulmonary oedema (or fluid build-up in the lungs)
  • Cancer
  • Chronic reduction of lung function
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Premature death

Authorities are advocating that affected car owners hold their car manufacturers responsible by filing a diesel claim in court. 

What should I do with my diesel claim?

The diesel claim process can be tedious but emissions experts are always ready to help out. You can also join a GLO or group litigation order, which is similar to the class-action lawsuit that affected US drivers filed against their carmakers.

However, you won’t be able to bring your case to the courts without first verifying your eligibility to make a claim. Not all diesel vehicles are equipped with defeat devices, so you should visit before starting any legal action against your carmaker. Once you have all the information you need, then emissions experts will be ready to help you move your emission claim forward.