Almost two-thirds of urban residents support banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in Europe after 2030, according to a new YouGov online poll in 15 European cities. A Europe-wide phase-out of fossil-fuel car sales is one option for EU lawmakers as they prepare sweeping legislation to achieve a climate-neutral Europe by 2050.
The poll shows 63% of city dwellers support only emissions-free cars being allowed to be sold after 2030. Just 29% oppose a phase-out of petrol and diesel car sales by then. YouGov, commissioned by Transport & Environment (T&E), surveyed 10,050 people online across 15 of some of Europe’s largest cities in eight countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the UK.
Julia Poliscanova, senior director for vehicles and emobility at T&E, said: “From Barcelona to Kraków, there is broad support for ending sales of fossil-fuel cars in the EU. People in cities are the most exposed to toxic levels of air pollution, and they don’t want internal combustion engines to be sold for any longer than is necessary.”
In all of the 15 cities, there is a consistent majority (51% to 77%) in support of emission-free cars sales after 2030. Support is higher among city dwellers who have suffered from Covid-19. Of those who were infected or had a person close to them infected, 66% back the measure — in comparison to 56% of those who don’t know anyone infected or don’t recall. Several studies have pointed to possible links between air pollution, of which road transport is the primary cause, and higher mortality related to Covid.
Julia Poliscanova concluded: “Politicians should listen to the people, who say they are ready for the full transition to zero-emission vehicles as soon as 2030. This summer the European Commission should propose an EU-wide end date for selling cars with internal combustion engines.”
The EU Commission could set an end date for fossil-fuel car sales in June, when it will propose tightening the bloc’s car CO2 targets. Ten European governments have already adopted such plans, but questions remain over the legality of proceeding without an EU-wide phase-out. Also, while several carmakers have reacted by announcing voluntary phase-outs of fossil-fuel car production, an EU deadline is needed to bring the rest on board.
¹All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 10,050 adults in metropolitan areas around London, Birmingham, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Rome, Hamburg, Berlin, Paris, Lyon, Brussels, Antwerp, Warsaw, Cracow, Budapest. Fieldwork was carried out online between 3-22 March 2021. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults (18+) living in the cities surveyed. 3 in 4 Europeans live in cities.