Industry > Green

Can this European country save the combustion engine from extinction?

Poland is planning to reject the pending engine ban

Poland believes that the outright ICE ban will just lead to rising vehicle prices. PHOTO FROM POLAND GOVERNMENT

The Philippines might be a fair few miles away from the European Union, but what happens in the 27 member states can still be felt around the globe. For example, when it comes to phasing out the combustion engine, a step pretty much agreed upon by the EU parliament not too long ago.

If 27 powerful countries and their 447 million inhabitants stopped using petrol and diesel engines, then it wouldn’t be long until other regions followed suit. Except the EU might not be killing off dinosaur-juice burners after all—at least not if things go according to the wishes of one European Union member state.

Poland is planning to go to court against the decision to phase out new cars with combustion engines in the European Union. The country’s climate minister Anna Moskwa announced on Monday that the government would be filing an appeal against the regulations before the EU’s highest court in the coming days.

Poland does not agree with this step and other parts of the EU climate protection program “Fit for 55.” Moskwa is being quoted in various German newspapers as saying that she hopes other countries will join Poland in objecting to the move.

If ICE cars are to remain on European roads in the future, they must use e-fuels. PHOTO FROM TRAVEL INFORMATION EUROPE

At the end of March, after an agreement with Germany, the EU energy ministers gave the go-ahead for the extensive phaseout of combustion engines from 2035. Poland voted against the plans. The government in Warsaw called them unrealistic and feared rising vehicle prices in the future. Italy, Bulgaria, and Romania abstained.

According to the decision, new cars may no longer emit carbon dioxide from 2035 onward, which pretty much means the end for ICE vehicles. In 2030, levels must already be 55% below 2021 levels.

At the urging of one political party from Germany (and no doubt with the powerful automobile lobby putting pressure on politicians), the country’s federal government had pushed for cars with combustion engines to still be able to be newly registered if they are operated exclusively via carbon-dioxide free fuels (so-called e-fuels).

One EU country is seemingly already agreeing with Poland on this issue. The Polish government received encouraging words from the traffic spokeswoman of the Austrian ÖVP party, Barbara Thaler.

She is on record as saying that there are many unanswered questions about the climate neutrality of electric cars that need to be clarified, and that the basic idea of declaring EVs to be carbon-neutral under the new law doesn’t benefit consumers, the climate, or the economy. Watch this space to see if we get to enjoy fossil fuel burners just that little bit longer.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.