A proposal to rid European Union cities of cars by 2050

The European Commission, part of the European Union, recently proposed getting rid of “conventionally fueled cars” in all EU cities by 2050:

Top of the EU’s list to cut climate change emissions is a target of “zero” for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU’s future cities.

Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto “alternative” means of transport.

“That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres,” he said. “Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour.”

The Association of British Drivers rejected the proposal to ban cars as economically disastrous and as a “crazy” restriction on mobility.

“I suggest that he goes and finds himself a space in the local mental asylum,” said Hugh Bladon, a spokesman for the BDA.

“If he wants to bring everywhere to a grinding halt and to plunge us into a new dark age, he is on the right track. We have to keep things moving. The man is off his rocker.”

Mr Kallas has denied that the EU plan to cut car use by half over the next 20 years, before a total ban in 2050, will limit personal mobility or reduce Europe’s economic competitiveness.

This would be a radical change, even in countries with lower rates of car ownership and more mass transit use compared to the United States. I can only imagine the outcry if such a plan were introduced in the United States.

It is interesting to see that one British commentator brings up mobility and the economy. I would think mobility is more of a proxy for freedom, the ability for an individual citizen to hop into a car and drive wherever they want. This idea is particular prevalent in America where freedom is paramount and the suburbs are built around this idea of driving where one wants. I’m not sure about the economic issue: surely, cars and related industries (gas, maintenance, insurance, etc.) are an important part of the economy. But I am more skeptical that such a ban would lead to a “new dark age.”

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