The European Union has agreed to make a carveout for synthetic fuels in its proposed 2035 ban on the sale of new combustion engine cars. Per the , the bloc made a deal with Germany on Saturday to allow automakers to sell new ICE cars past 2035, provided those vehicles run on climate-neutral fuels only. The agreement ends a dispute that had threatened to scuttle the EU’s signature climate change policy. At the start of March, the European Parliament that would have codified the proposed ban after Germany, with , said it would not back the mandate without an exemption for synthetic fuels.
We have found an agreement with Germany on the future use of efuels in cars.
We will work now on getting the CO2-standards for cars regulation adopted as soon as possible, and the Commission will follow-up swiftly with the necessary legal steps to implement recital 11.
— Frans Timmermans (@TimmermansEU) March 25, 2023
“We have found an agreement with Germany on the future use of e-fuels in cars,” Frans Timmermans, the executive vice president of European Green Deal, . “We will work now on getting the CO2 standards for cars regulation adopted as soon as possible.” Environmental group Greenpeace criticized the agreement. “This lazy compromise undermines climate protection in transport, and it harms Europe,” the organization wrote in a statement.
As , making synthetic fuels is incredibly energy intensive. Moreover, without direct air capture tech, e-fuel cars produce almost as many greenhouse emissions as their conventional ICE counterparts. According to one published before Saturday’s announcement, a carveout for synthetic fuels could result in as many as 46 million fewer cumulative EV sales in Europe by 2050 “without providing any additional CO2 savings.” It’s also worth noting that no company is . That’s a significant point because e-fuels are unlikely to save European drivers money. By 2030, estimates the average EU driver will pay €782 a year more to fill their car’s tank with synthetic fuel than conventional gas.