By on October 12, 2007

800px-pivco-piv3.jpgNo seriously. The Kingdom of Norway may become the first nation on God's green Earth to ban all gasoline-only cars. Citing Brazil's success with bioethanol as their rationale, Norwegian lawmakers are considering ditching petrol-only machines completely, in favor of biofuel-powered transportation. The United Press International reports that Center Party committee member Jenny Klinge feels banning sales of gasoline-powered cars to her country's 4.7m residents "would pressure the automobile industry into developing technology faster than it otherwise would." The Norwegian Transport ministry is trying to determine if such a ban would be legal. Meanwhile, Norway's many corn, soybean, and sugar cane farmers are excited about the prospects of a new market for their crops.

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34 Comments on “Norway Considers Banning Petrol-Powered Cars...”


  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    Do they have a development project to grow sugar cane in the snow?

  • avatar
    scottb

    Irregardless of whether it’s petroleum products or biofuel, they are dependent on external suppliers.

  • avatar

    feels banning sales of gasoline-powered cars to her country’s 4.7m residents “would pressure the automobile industry into developing technology faster than it otherwise would.”

    Sales to Norway for most manufacturers must be little more than a rounding error on the balance sheet, so banning them from selling there isn’t going to pressure them to do anything.

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    There are more people in the Dallas Ft. Worth Metroplex than the entire nation of Norway. I doubt them banning regular gasoline powered cars is going to bother anyone.

  • avatar
    altoids

    I support Norway’s ban of petrol cars – a move away from gasoline is a good thing, particularly if the suckers who have to serve as guinea pigs don’t include me.

    Severely inconveniencing Norway’s drivers seems like a small price to pay for more environmental bragging rights for the ruling party.

    Go for it Norway! I want to watch.

  • avatar
    fallout11

    As a side note, the government of Norway is also one of the few who have publicly stated acceptance of “Peak Oil” as scientific fact. Norway is one of the very few non-OPEC oil (former) exporter nations, and having watched their North Sea oil fields slowly dwindle into depletion no doubt had some impact on this decision. They are also engaged in a large project to put away an archival repository of accumulate knowledge and heirloom seeds, for a forthcoming fossil fuel-less “Dim Age”.
    Before judging them as backwards luddites, remember that Norway has the highest “Human Development Index” of any nation on Earth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index

    On a personal level, I commend them on their foresightedness.

  • avatar

    It’s a proposed ban on gasoline ONLY vehicles. In Brazil today 80% of the cars are capable of using flexifuel (bioethanol, in that case).

    The ban may be enforced by 2015, or by 2020. At present they are looking into the legality of introducing such a ban.

    My take?

    One – I consider biofuels a huge boondoggle and scam, valid in countries where green stuff grows rampantly, such as in Brazil; otherwise only a sly way of transferring agricultural subsidies without the WTO wagging its finger.

    Two – By 2015 the general availability of affordable gasoline will be a much more pressing issue than whether you can mix it with another fuel.

    The present cabinet contains members from the Center Party, which is strongly supportive of agriculture, and always looking for ways to keep subsidies to agriculture alive. The WTO has told Norway that they can’t keep the protective tariffs against imports going much longer (the world’s highest), and now the party is looking for a way to keep the money flowing.

    If the poll accompanying the Norwegian article in Verdens Gang is any guide, then it’s not a popular measure. 81% against the ban, 9700 respondents.

  • avatar

    scottb :
    October 12th, 2007 at 10:17 am

    Irregardless of whether it’s petroleum products or biofuel, they are dependent on external suppliers.

    Umm… No. Norway is a large producer of both oil and gas. They have a big chunk of the North Sea.

    cheers

    Malcolm

  • avatar

    World’s third largest exporter of oil and gas, in fact. You wouldn’t know it if you came here. Had a manager from Philips in Holland visiting the other day, we went out for dinner. He was in shock over how jumbled and unplanned the capital city of Oslo seems – “don’t you have a lot of oil revenues?”

    We do have the world’s most expensive gasoline!

  • avatar
    lewissalem

    Norway’s banning of gas will have a huge.. wait 4.6 million people? Never mind.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Why stop at banning gasoline burning engines? If Norway wants to prove that it is serious about keeping carbon trapped safely in the earth, the country should stop pumping crude oil out of the North Sea and exporting it around the world. Sure, such a move would bankrupt the country, but really, what better way is there to show how much they really care…

  • avatar

    Thanks, SXL, for giving us the real story here.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    there is no shortage of oil

    “America has about 22 billion barrels of “proven” oil reserves, defined as “reasonably certain to be recoverable in future years under existing economic and operating conditions.” In addition, there are an estimated 112 billion barrels that could be recovered with existing drilling and production technology. Make that, with existing drilling and production technology and fewer Democrats like Pelosi who, while promising energy independence, are opposed to any drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and much drilling offshore, where 87 billion of the 112 billion barrels are located, as is much of the estimated 656 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.”

    http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/will051707.php3

  • avatar
    GS650G

    who cares what Norway does. When the US congress starts debating it then we’ll pay attention. I’s obvious the Norwegians are not allowed to own firearms, the Liberal Socialists masters up there would not live to see the sun set.

  • avatar
    Ashy Larry

    William Montgomery’s point highlights an uncomfortable truth: Norway’s staggeringly great standard of living is attributable almost entirely to the vast riches of their oil and gas exports. They are massively responsible for the world’s plundering of oil and gas resources and have profited handsomely from them. I guess their collective guilt is getting the better of them, here — by trying to convert to an all biofuels society, they can pawn off the nasty byproducts of biofuel production (e.g., the energy consumption needed to make the biofules from biomatter) on the other countries and make themselves look good in the process. And I’m sure they will lecture other countries as well on how they use so much petro-products — while Norway continues to pump their taks full with North Sea oil and gas!

    I’m half Norwegian and while I love the country dearly, this stuff is pure twaddle.

  • avatar
    Gottleib

    HA HA HA, this is hilarious.

  • avatar
    canfood

    why wait for the future?

    just have GM give them all the Flexfuel vehicles that are sitting on the US dealer lots right now!

  • avatar
    stuntnun

    how much of the Brazilian jungle was cut down to make room for the sugar beet fields? —- oops cane

  • avatar
    NBK-Boston

    1. They grow sugar cane, not sugar beets an Brazil, in order to create ethanol. The former is a tropical crop, the latter is a temperate climate crop. Most current rain forest cutting goes to providing land for soybeans and cattle grazing. The sugarcane regions have been long dedicated to that crop.

    2. Reading the original article, it is not clear if Norway would actually ban the sale of any car that could burn gasoline, or if they are only contemplating banning cars that are only equipped to burn gasoline. FFVs that burn gasoline or ethanol interchangably would then be okay.

    In the former instance, no cars would be sold in Norway, because it would be difficult to take an biofuel-capable FFV and render it truly unable to consume gasoline, and the size of the market would not justify much of an attempt to come up with something radically new. In the latter instance, business would continue as usual, more or less. Like in the U.S., a great number of FFVs would be sold, and most would probably never touch a drop of ethanol.

    3. Norway is small enough and rich enough (ironically thanks to oil revenues, as others have pointed out) to import enough biofuel (from the U.S. or Brazil) to run their entire automotive fleet, if they really wanted to. It would be largely pointless, but they could make that statement if so inclined.

    4. Whoever is doing this is doing it just for the press.

  • avatar
    carlos.negros

    Perhaps global climate change is much more important to Norwegians than it is to most of you on this website. Perhaps those in Norway who proposed this policy figure they can spur research into celulosic ethanol.
    http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/enews/enews_0505/enews_0505_Cellulosic_Ethanol.htm

    Perhaps they figure, well, hey, we Norwegians were the first country to free our slaves (Irish Slaves in Iceland), the first country to establish a parliament,(also Iceland) and we have done a pretty good job of raising a healthy, positive, literate nation. Why not be a light to the nations of the earth?

    No, I’m not a Norwegian. But I’ve traveled there and I think it is a beautiful place with an incredible standard of living, and full of very educated people. Don’t be surprised if they get the last laugh.

  • avatar
    JonS

    Not only does Norway export oil and gas, it generates nearly all of its own electricity using hydroelectric plants. It exports the surplus electricity to Sweden. I’m surprised they are talking about liquid fuels.

    If you think what Norway does is laughable because of its small population, consider this. Someone in China or India might in ten years time justifiably laugh at the idea that what the US congress does matters. These countries dwarf ours in population size and the number of car owners as a percent of the population is tiny but skyrocketing. Even with a low rate of car ownership, China will pass the United States as the world’s leading emitter of carbon within the next 24 months.

  • avatar
    stuntnun

    i liked norway when they wore viking helmets and weren’t so politically correct.

  • avatar
    NBK-Boston

    JonS, your point is not well taken. If the Chinese and Indian populations were to exceed the U.S. population to the same degree that the U.S. population exceeds the Norwegian population, China and India would have 20 billion residents. Not only would they have to catch up to us economically, they would also have to grow their populations tenfold, in order to make us as irrelevant to them as Norway currently is to us. Not going to happen any time soon.

    If Norway was serious about running its automotive fleet only on biofuels, its consumption would probably be noticed on the U.S. and Brazilian ethanol markets, but not much more than that. It would not force a shift to cellulostic technology, because we’d still have enough ethanol at home to oxygenate some of our fuels when needed (a 10% ethanol blend is used to control air pollutants), and we’d let the Norwegians burn the surplus in exchange for their oil. All we’d be doing is wasting money (and fuel) transporting these things back and forth.

    A minor policy shift on the part of the U.S. or Japanese government would do much more to stimulate research into second generation biofuels than would an all-out effort of the Norwegian government to switch their entire country. The current corn ethanol boom is the product of just such minor policy shifts — a phaseout of the additive MTBE, which ethanol can substitute for, a subsidy on domestic ethanol production, and import protection against Brazilian supplies.

    As long as Norway participates heavily in the oil economy (by selling large amount of crude to people who are willing to burn it), all this fuss is little more than greenwashing.

  • avatar
    stuntnun

    hey boston you said—- “because we’d still have enough ethanol at home to oxygenate some of our fuels when needed (a 10% ethanol blend is used to control air pollutants)”,—on a zero emissions car like a honda ,all thats expelled is a little co2, and isnt that what we exhale and the plant kingdom uses to grow? now if you add an extra step of adding biofuels to the petro,isnt that worse for the environment cultivating it and all the extra energy it takes to add it to the gas?– and its not even as efficient as straight gas– i think biofuels are a much worse pollutant than straight up gas.

  • avatar
    carlos.negros

    stuntnun wrote: “i think biofuels are a much worse pollutant than straight up gas”

    Petroleum is extracted from under the earth where the carbon is trapped. Biofuels, such as corn, canola, soybeans, and flaxseed are grown on the earth, and as as they grow, they release oxygen.

    When we release previously trapped carbon into the earth’s aptmosphere, there is no oxygen produced to offset the carbon we are releasing. Carbon has been linked to rising temperatures. Al Gore’s movie explains this linkage very well.

    And to bring this discussion back to Norway, it was the Norwegian Nobel committee that awarded Al Gore and the U.N. panel on climate change the Nobel Peace Prize. Way to go, Norway!!!

  • avatar
    jthorner

    If the prohibition is simply against selling vehicles which aren’t flex fuel capable between gasoline and ethanol it isn’t a big deal. The extra cost to make the engine management system able to handle both fuels is minimal and the slight improvement in a few fuel system materials is no big deal either.

  • avatar
    hal

    If the Norwegians put their research money where their mouth is they could have a big impact on developing biofuels.
    After being a big energy exporter for a generation and becoming one of the wealthiest countries in the world I doubt Norwegians like the idea of having to import energy when their oil and gas run out. I doubt anyone would would consider banning petrol driven cars just so they could import ethanol from Brazil, on the other hand having a few patents on cellulosic ethanol could be very pleasant indeed. Other small countries like Denmark (Wind Turbines) and Finland (Cellphones) have done very well out of an early start on new technologies there’s no reason Norway couldn’t do something similar with biofuels.

  • avatar
    stuntnun

    ya they gave Arafat a noble too,and they forgot to give gore one for inventing the internet.–if oil is decomposed plant matter from the dinosaur age that means it was once in the atmosphere .look up what percent of green house gas is co2 and what percent is water vapor, should we prevent the oceans from evaporating? read up on how the earths magnetic field is moving from north south–this allows the suns radiation to penetrate in regions of the earth it has not before since we started to monitor it.lots of other stuff i could put but im too lazy.

  • avatar

    Stuntnun:
    if oil is decomposed plant matter from the dinosaur age that means it was once in the atmosphere

    Since it orginally came from a biological source, wouldn’t that also make it a biofuel? Just sayin’…

  • avatar
    carlos.negros

    stuntnum wrote:
    “if oil is decomposed plant matter from the dinosaur age that means it was once in the atmosphere ”

    The difference is the increase in the amount of carbon emitted over the last two hundred years, as measured in polar ice deposits.

    Of course, you could always get all of your information from the same “scientists” who for so many years argued that the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer was “unproven.”

  • avatar
    stuntnun

    i never believed those scientist and i do smoke,and i don’t believe the scientist that told me while i was in grade school we should be out of oil right now and in an ice age.i do believe we are getting warmer ,just not because of c02. those polar ice deposits you refer too have been debunked -look it up

  • avatar
    carlos.negros

    stuntnun, you just keep on smokin’. Never mind those silly old scientists. Sheesh, why Rush smokes, an’ he’s alive. So, that’s proof!

  • avatar
    stuntnun

    lots of scientist dont agree. real scientist would look at all reasons why the earth could be warming–the guy that predicts and is quoted every year for the number of hurricanes predicted even said gores full of it–he also posed a good question– why was the first half of the 20th century cooler yet there were more hurricanes 1900-1950 ? he thinks its more to do with long term trends in climate in relation with saltwater density. i believe a doctor over a politician any day. and yes i do need to quit smoking.

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