Ireland is fast-tracking legislation that will effectively ban all gas-powered vehicles within a decade, leaving customers who are buying cars in January confused about what to do next, local reports show.
The country’s Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton plans to publish the Climate Action (Amendment) Bill 2019 enforcing such a ban, the Independent.ie reported Monday.
The ban was officially announced in June, according to the report. One of Ireland’s political parties is pushing back.
“Fianna Fáil is mindful that families and businesses remain extremely reliant on petrol/diesel cars and that any phase-out must be combined with greater investment in EV charging, public transport, and cycling infrastructure,” Fianna Fáil climate spokesman Jack Chambers told the Independent.
Chambers noted that any phase-out of fossil fuel-powered vehicles required an immediate transition to electric vehicles.
The country’s automotive industry also suggested fast-tracking such a proposal, which was designed to eliminate carbon emissions, which could create a lot of confusion.
“This only adds to the confusion, at a time when people are buying new cars. January is the biggest selling month for new cars,” Brian Cooke, director general of Society of the Irish Motor Industry, told reporters.
He added: “There are around 35,000 new cars sold in January, so it’s the key month for us.”
Ireland’s push is similar to the one that U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York proposed in October.
“That’s why I am announcing a new proposal designed to rapidly phase out gas-powered vehicles and replace them with zero-emission, or ‘clean,’ vehicles like electric cars,” Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, wrote in an editorial that month after suggesting scientists agree that climate change represents an imminent threat to the U.S.
He added: “The goal of the plan, which also aims to spur a transformation in American manufacturing, is that by 2040 all vehicles on the road should be clean.” The plan would remove more than 63 million gas-powered cars from the road by 2030, Schumer estimates.
The senator’s office expects the proposal to cost roughly $392 billion over a decade. The Washington Post referred to the idea as “essentially ‘Cash for Clunkers’ on steroids,” referring to a policy from the Obama-era encouraging Americans to trade their old vehicles for fuel-efficient cars.
Cash for Clunkers was the mechanism allowing the federal government to offer incentives of between $2,500 and $4,500 to citizens who traded in their older vehicles for newer ones.
Critics called the idea, which received generous media fanfare, a failure even if it was designed with the best of intentions.
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