France To 'Ban All Petrol And Diesel Vehicles By 2040'

In a move that further progresses the eventual death of the traditional combustion engine, France's new environment minister has announced plans to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

Nicolas Hulot made the announcement as part of a series of measures President Emmanuel Macron's administration will implement to make the country carbon neutral by 2050.

The announcement comes shortly after car maker Volvo said on Wednesday it planned to built only electric and hybrid vehicles from 2019.

There apppears to be recognition of the strain this will place on car manufactuters, but Hult believe there are projects that can achieve their goals. Part of these plans involve poorer households getting premiums so they can swap their polluting vehicles for clean alternatives.

The announcements are part of a five-year-plan to encourage clean energy and fulfil the country's commitments under the Paris Agreement, which includes ceasing coal based electricity production by 2022 and investment of up to €4bn to boost energy efficiency.

"We want to demonstrate that fighting against climate change can lead to an improvement of French people's daily lives," Mr Hulut said.

France, of course isn't the only country looking to ban combustion-powered cars.

The Netherlands and Norway said they wanted to be rid of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025 and Germany and India announced similar plans ahead of 2030.

The French Parliament is expected to vote on a bill in the autumn which would ban all new exploitation permits for petrol, natural gas and coal.

While the prospect of moving away from combustion engines entirely looks daunting, there are arguments that it can be done effecitvely. Coal-fired steam was replaced by the internal combustion engine - a quantum leap in terms of efficiency and emissions - within a generation a huge pipeline and filling station network was set up from scratch.