France to ban cars using dirty diesel and polluting petrol

An electrical charger is pictured on the V60 hybrid car
An electrical charger is pictured on the V60 hybrid car. Photo credit: Reuters

The day after carmaker Volvo said it was going all-in on electric vehicles, an entire country has followed. 

From 2040, France says it will ban sales of petrol and diesel vehicles. The move will help the European nation meet its Paris climate goals, Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot said.

France follows Norway, which will go all-electric in 2025. India, the world's second most-populous country, is considering 2030. The UK is also considering 2040.

"I welcome the strong leadership the French government has shown by making the decision to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040," said London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

"This radical step shames the timid and insufficient response of our own government to the health threat posed by poor air quality."

Nicolas Hulot.
Nicolas Hulot. Photo credit: Reuters

But Stanford University economist Tony Seba told The Guardian France's move wasn't actually all that revolutionary. 

"Banning sales of diesel and gasoline vehicles by 2040 is a bit like banning sales of horses for road transportation by 2040: there won't be any to ban."

Presently around 1.1 percent of new vehicles sold in France are all-electric - nearly double the EU average of 0.6 percent.

Getting rid of petrol-powered cars won't increase emissions at power stations, because three-quarters of France's electricity is nuclear.

The Bill which would ban sales of non-electric vehicles in 2040 will be voted on later this year.