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Dutch politicians move to ban gas, diesel cars by 2025

It may not have a snowball's chance in hell at becoming law, but it's likely that we'll be seeing more proposals like these in the future.

16 Aug 2010, Amsterdam, Netherlands --- The Singel canal at night in Amsterdam --- Image by © Jean-Pierre Lescourret/Corbis
Jean-Pierre Lescourret, © Jean-Pierre Lescourret/Corbis

When we reach a time where self-driving cars are ferrying most of us around, and they're all running on advanced electric powertrains, that would be a good time to talk about the future of gas-powered cars. Right now is not that time, but that didn't stop lawmakers in the Netherlands from trying to ban gas- and diesel-powered cars.

Members of the Dutch labor party PvdA drafted a proposal that would ban the sale of new gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles in 2025. The idea would be that 2025 would provide sufficient time for fuel cell and electric vehicles to become commonplace. The same group also proposed a hefty government investment in autonomous vehicles, partly to reduce nasty traffic jams.

Of course, that involves loads of wishful thinking. In fact, Digital Trends wrote that lawmakers from another party called the proposition "overambitious and unrealistic," and "the wishful thinking of a headless chicken." Even some PvdA party members have shied away from the idea, despite it passing the Dutch parliament's lower house, because not everybody is on board with EVs yet, and they don't want to send voters running.

When it comes down to it, it's far too early for many (or any) countries to put these ideas in motion. EV infrastructure is finally coming around, but hydrogen is still sorely lacking, especially in the giant car market known as the USA. I haven't seen a single projection that would put EV market share above 50 percent by 2025, never mind nearing 100 percent. And there's no better way to turn a person against an idea than by, quite literally, forcing them to do it.

But it's still an interesting idea. EVs and fuel cell vehicles have better "well-to-wheel" figures than gas vehicles, and autonomous vehicles have the chance to send accident rates into the basement. These concepts are slowly proving themselves on roads, but we're still more than a decade away from seeing massive shifts in public opinion -- or from seeing infrastructure fleshed out.