By on April 19, 2016

2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle – Exterior

When you’re in conversation with a self-described urbanist, it’s usually impossible to avoid numerous references to Amsterdam, that progressive utopia of bikes, tulips, marijuana-smoking tourists, and more bikes.

Well, expect to hear about it even more, now that Dutch parliament has passed a Dutch Labor Party motion to ban the sale of internal combustion vehicles in that country after 2025, according to Auto Express. The bill, which requires senate approval to become the law of the land, would see existing gas and diesel vehicles grandfathered, and the sale of new ones banned.

The legislation is the latest in a rising wave of national and subnational dictates aimed at removing pollution-emitting vehicles from roads, or private vehicles as a whole. London’s downtown will only be accessible by Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) after 2020, and Paris will ditch diesels at the same time, but the Netherlands law ups the ante a great deal.

Is this an insidious attempt to limit personal autonomy under the guise of environmental stewardship? Doubtlessly, there are many who will see these laws as a gateway to a greenwashed gulag, but this is the direction that society (or at least those running it) is taking us.

One person’s blissful utopia is another’s dystopian superstate.

Regardless, expect to hear this issue raised at a town or city council meeting near you, if you haven’t already.

After all, this isn’t just a Netherlands issue, or even a European Union one (the EU has pushed for a gas-free continent since 2011). Guess which eight states also want to ban gasoline-powered vehicles by 2050? Your guess — assuming it’s based on political stereotypes — is likely correct.

But back to the Dutch law, and the logistics of it. Of all European countries, the Netherlands seems better equipped than others to handle becoming gas-free zone. First, its gasoline prices are among the highest in Europe, with lower-octane gas costing 1.55 euro ($1.76) per liter at the beginning of April. That price came close to touching two euros per liter between 2012 to 2014.

So, the Dutch are already used to being penalized for car ownership. Secondly, the country’s electricity prices are mid-pack for the EU, and among the lowest of the European countries people actually talk about. Denmark, for example, has the highest electricity rates (thanks to the Scandinavian taxation that urbanists never fail to mention), a figure that seems to correspond with their divorce rate.

Where is Elon Musk’s only European Tesla assembly plant, you ask? Why, it’s in Tilburg, Netherlands. The country also boasts an EV takeup rate of about 10 percent.

The country is also small, its population clustered in cities, and it has highly developed bike and transit infrastructure. Meaning that getting home from work (or the pub) without a car is easier than in, say, Iowa or Manitoba.

Simply put, the necessary infrastructure is in place, and the area is geographically concentrated. That’s not the case in many other jurisdictions where activists want to leap from point A to point Z without having to do all of the incremental (but necessary) steps in between.

So, if the Netherlands law comes to pass, that country will probably be able to quickly adapt to having their gasoline cars treated like books in Fahrenheit 451. However, for those sporty Dutch born with a steering wheel in their hands, the Tesla Model 3 can’t come soon enough.

[Image: General Motors]

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33 Comments on “‘Green Cars Only’ Laws: Coming to a Debate Near You...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Way to focus on the issues that don’t matter, Dutch Labor Party.

    Don’t miss your beheading appointments at 3.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Yeah, better start banning offensive cartoons, or there won’t be any Dutch people to buy cars in the future.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        You underestimate the Dutch people. My wife’s sister and her Dutch/American husband live in Holland part-time these days and there are plenty of new cars on the roads there.

        Even through the most austere of times, the Dutch have always managed to buy new and used cars even though they have an excellent public transportation system.

        There are still a lot of bikes, scooters and 50cc buzz-bikes running around, but more and more people are switching over to cars as they age and are better off financially.

        • 0 avatar
          3XC

          I don’t think that’s what he meant. Which member of your wife’s family will be handing the internal combustion tickets to the Toyota Hi-Lux with a RPD mounted in the bed driving down the streets of Aachen, making sure everyone is paying the Jizya?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            The Dutch are not going to give up their gasoline and diesel-powered cars.

            Even after the end of WWII, in spite of the gas and diesel shortages, the Dutch managed to soldier on importing new cars from Sweden and the US.

            And what are those vacay-loving Dutch going to do about their annual months-long vacations to Italy and Spain? Drive an EV?

            No way.

            BTW, Aachen is in Germany, not Holland.

          • 0 avatar
            fvfvsix

            I’m sure he meant Arnhem :)

            Anyway, yeah. I totally can’t see a ban on petroleum powered vehicles in Holland. From the locals I’ve had conversations with, they’ve just about had it with the wacko progressive image Amsterdam gives the rest of the country. Truth be told, a guy I know grew up in Amsterdam, and is ashamed of the stereotypes.

          • 0 avatar

            American walk naked on the streets, smoke marijuana in the parks, molest children, live on the street or in homeless camps, smell urine, defecate on the streets, change gender based on the mood, look like a crap or hippies and consider own country as an evil empire. I know that because I visited San Francisco.

      • 0 avatar
        DukeGanote

        That’s the Soylent “Green” approac!

        • 0 avatar
          doublechili

          Excellent! I may appropriate Soylent “Green” for future personal use. :)

          But you may be onto something else here. Why not develop cars that run on ground-up old people? That would solve both the transportation AND health care “crises”.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    The main reason electric cars have been so popular in tiny Norway is that there are a lot of economical incentives. No registration fees, environmental fees, free parking and ferries, the ability to share bus and taxi lanes, free charging etc.

    Now the whole thing is turned on its head once again: Diesel cars are supposed to be weeded out. The toll ring around Oslo is proposed to be adjusted to cost the average diesel owner 3400$ a year to drive through:
    http://www.nrk.no/ostlandssendingen/nytt-forslag_-27-600-kroner-i-bomringen-1.12900647

    That’s a lot of money. In addition to the economic route through incentives, also Norway wants to ban fossil fuel cars, and phase out their sales by 2030. For now, I hope these are just lofty goals.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Norway is a huge producer of fossil fuel with many oil rigs in the North Atlantic off the Norway coast.

      Unlikely that these measures will pass any time soon.

  • avatar
    BoogerROTN

    I’m sure the SJW czars of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Vancouver are licking their chops over this story. It’ll present some real problems though, notably that they’ll have to shelve the Swedish socio-economic fixation for a Dutch one…

    Waiting on a Bernie Sanders press release to follow. “A Future Like Venezuela…”

  • avatar

    Old news! “Motion dismissed”… Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp told Dutch Parliament that such an “Alleingang” within the EU would violate laws and rules regarding the sales of motor vehicles in the EU. In other words, selling ICE cars cannot be forbidden, unless the EU decides to do so. Austria is thinking of putting a stop to the sales of ICE cars already in 2020. Don’t know what the status is there though. But since it’s part of the EU, expect the same outcome.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      But they CAN achieve (almost) the same thing by taxing the heck out of pure-ICE vehicles, which does not violate EU legislation. (Netherlands already has some of the highest car taxes in the EU.)

      Incidentally, the proposed ban would affect only pure ICE cars, not hybrids.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        They already tax the hell out of them; VAT, annual registration tax, emissions inspection tax, gasoline tax, road tax, mandatory insurance tax, and probably more I don’t know about.

  • avatar
    ajla

    If we do this in the US, does that mean we get Red Light districts and legal recreational drugs too?

    Becuase if ICE vehicles are outright banned I’ll need something new to spend money on…

  • avatar
    wsn

    So, if they are to ban fossil fuel for cars, do they ban fossil fuel for other purposes? Like semi trucks, ships, airplane, and fireplace?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Grandfather in old technology and prevent new more efficient technology from being adopted.

    Makes perfect sense. /facepalm

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    M’eh. 50-50 that the EU won’t exist in its current state by 2025—-arguably cuz Brussels was too concerned about installing bike paths and making the UK go metric instead of more important things.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    “Is this an insidious attempt to limit personal autonomy under the guise of environmental stewardship? No doubt, there are many who see these laws as a gateway to a greenwashed gulag, but this is the direction that society (or at least those running it) is taking us.”

    Grammar says there shouldn’t be a comma after no doubt unless you were purposely creating a situation where you’re attempting to answer your own rhetorical question while creating a less offensive sentence. Just a basic word to watch when your bias becomes completely exposed….

    Anyways, the vast majority of Americans don’t live in Iowa or great plains states. In fact, the census says less than 20% of people live in rural areas. Over 70% live in urban areas. There is no reason to constantly worry about your personal autonomy given the both ubiquity of cars and the rise in power of EVs. There is a serious disconnect between the arguments.

    In fact, nobody is saying anything about forcing everybody on to mass transit. Most places aren’t designed to have EVERYBODY or nearly everybody use, it’s designed to support a large portion of the populace but these kinds of laws diminish further pollution and pressure the adoption of new technology. It’s a net good that most of the people of the Netherlands will have a chance to disagree with when the time comes.

    Then again, several commenters here frequently theorize that a massive race war is inevitable so I kind of have to keep the acceptance of reality in check here. :S

  • avatar
    dwford

    Banning combustion engines is just the next logical step in the process of reducing emissions. It’s not like they are banning personal automobiles altogether, just the fuel burning ones. I’m not totally opposed.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m opposed–at least until such time as the range and recharging time problems of EVs are solved. That said, I hope those problems are solved, and soon. Once they are solved, if they are solved (and by solved I mean so that everything, including cost, is competitive with ICE), I suspect there will be a quick shift to electricity, such that there won’t be any need to regulate that shift. And when that happens, the pressure will be off people to quit driving ICE.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Totally, because electricity generation is a non-fuel burning, emission-free process.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      dwford – – –

      You may be suffering from the misinformation that combustion engines are inherently polluting (^_^).
      Not true. It all depends on what ICE’s burn, and where they get it from.

      Check the Audi “e-gas” process, to generate hydrogen (H2) by wind-powered electrolysis of seawater, which is then converted to methane (CH4) by REMOVING carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. The combustion process simply returns the same CO2 back again, and the carbon simply acted as an “energy carrier” along the way. AND the oxygen (O2) generated can be sold separately as an added benefit.

      This is not hypothetical. It is happening now. Audi has a prototype plant in operation:
      http://www.europeanpowertogas.com/blog/623

      Th advantages (versus EV’s) of this type of ICE are: lower weight; temperature invariability; fast refueling; greater reliability; no battery replacement; better handling; smaller depreciation; no range anxiety; and longer vehicle endurance.

      Other fermentation processes with algae from the seas are exploring the manufacture of n-butanol, also called “e-butanol”. This is a DIRECT gasoline substitute with an octane rating of about 100. NO changes to existing ICE engine are needed and the process is carbon neutral, as is the “e-gas” method.
      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110301200638.htm

      How can either not be a winner? And not a single drop of gasoline or diesel is even directly involved!

      ============================

  • avatar
    redliner

    I agree with the objective of this law, but not the way that it’s being implemented.

    In many places it is still legal to go down the road in a horse drawn carriage. But people don’t do that anymore (with a few exceptions). Why? Because ICE vehicles are just better.

    When EVs become truly better than ICE vehicles, people will switch to EVs in droves. Legislation won’t be required.

  • avatar
    raph

    Sweet! I might not make it to 2050 but I bet I can ride it to 2025 and sell my gas guzzling Shelby with patina to a wealthy Dutch anarchist!

  • avatar

    Again, this will not be implemented, since Holland is not allowed to do this within the EU. And again, the proposal was to forbid the sales of ICE cars by 2025. That means that you can drive your old gas-guzzling clunker way passed the year of 2025. As a matter of fact, Holland still has a fiscal arrangement in which 40 year old cars are road tax exempt.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    This is the sort of thing that is regulated at the EU level, so I would not presume that the Dutch parliament has the legal authority to impose such a law.

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