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Norway won't ban sales of gasoline and diesel cars after all

Just over two months ago, reports out of Norway indicated that political parties were in favor of a ban on sales of new gasoline and diesel cars after 2025, but now the Scandinavian country’s government says there are no plans for such a ban.

A spokesperson for Norway’s transport ministry told Automotive News Europe (subscription required) that the country does not intend to ban internal-combustion cars, saying the government hopes to encourage greater use of electric cars “by using the carrot instead of [the] stick.” Norway continues to aggressively promote electric cars, though.

New technology will eventually lead to the decline of gasoline and diesel cars without a ban, the spokesperson said. Every four years, a plan for reducing emissions is presented to the government, according to the spokesperson, and while the latest plan does include “ambitious goals to reduce emissions from the transport sector,” it does not include a ban on internal-combustion cars, the spokesperson said.

Read more: Electric cars could replace 90 percent of today’s cars, study says

Norway remains committed to electric cars, though. Electric cars make up a higher portion of new-car sales there than in any other country, thanks to a combination of generous incentives and geography. Most Norwegians live within 60 miles of the capital of Oslo, and take most of their trips there. That makes the relatively short ranges of most current electric cars less of an issue.

In addition, Norway incentivizes the purchase of electric cars. They are exempt from many of the taxes levied on new-car purchases, as well as tolls for roads, bridges and tunnels. They also get free public parking, and free access to the expansive network of public charging stations the country has built up. Not a bad deal.

While Norway is not pursuing an outright ban on gasoline and diesel cars, other countries may try to do so. In April, the Dutch parliament passed a motion to end sales of internal-combustion cars by 2025, although hybrids would be exempt from the ban. India’s government has proposed making all of the cars on its roads electric by 2030, using an incentive scheme to help drivers get cars cheaply.