Similar to the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in Germany, the Austrian government has also decided not to introduce a ban on combustion engines for the time being, thereby strongly irritating their green coalition partner. The latter had clearly advocated for a ban on new cars with combustion engines from 2035 onwards. However, the Austrian Ministry of Economy considers this measure to be unfeasible and fears that it would disproportionately burden the automotive industry. Instead, Austria is focusing on promoting alternative drives and expanding charging infrastructure.
The de facto ban on combustion engines was close to being passed. Just before the finish line, Germany and now Austria have questioned the ban. Until recently, Austria was considered a supporter of the commission’s proposal for a ban from 2035.
Decision against a combustion engine ban in Austria does not come as a surprise
The decision against a combustion engine ban in Austria does not come as a surprise, as similar discussions are taking place in other European countries. For example, Germany has not yet set a date for a ban on combustion engines, although it has set the goal of being climate-neutral by 2045. In contrast, with the recent proposal of the FDP’s Volker Wissing, the governing party has spoken out in favor of using CO2-neutral fuels as an option for the continued approval of combustion engines even from 2035.
The green coalition partner criticize the decision of the Austrian government under Chancellor Nehammer and demand that a ban on combustion engines is inevitable in order to achieve the climate goals set by the EU, in which the ban on the sale of CO2-emitting cars from 2035 is an important core element of the climate goals. They argue that the promotion of alternative drives is not sufficient to bring about the necessary changes in the automotive industry.
It remains to be seen whether Austria and other European countries will change their strategies regarding combustion engines in order to achieve the climate goals.