Why Not Limit the Number of Cars in Europe?

We have a hard limit in the EU for emissions under the ETS (emission trading system) for CO2 emissions by large scale installations like power plants, which is 2,039,152,882 tons in 2013 and will decrease by 1.74% a year from there on.

There is also a limit for the average emission from each car for running a kilometer, which is set at 130 gram from 2015 on and 95 gram from 2020.

But there is still no limit on the number of cars. Having the emissions per kilometer drop does not reduce emissions from the transport sector if either the number of cars or the average distance traveled per car and year increases accordingly. Actually, it could get worse.

So why is there no hard limit on the number of cars in the European Union?

I ask this because I just happened to see a television report about the beautiful island community of Catalina, which is located about 35 kilometers away from Los Angeles.

They have limited the number of cars on their island, according to Wikipedia. The effect is that you need to wait 14 years if you want to bring a new car to the island. And people are driving around in golf carts. Looked really nice in the television report.

While there is still no such policy in place in the EU, the next best thing is to raise taxes on gasoline cars (which put the survival of humanity as a species at risk), and waive those taxes for electrical vehicles (and of course, electrically powered golf carts). The latter policy is in place already now in Germany.

As this recent post at German Energy Blog helpfully explains, the law partially waiving taxes for electrical vehicles has been amended. As a result, all vehicles registered between 18 May 2011 and 31 December 2015 will be exempt from taxes for ten years, and all vehicles registered between 1 January 2016 and 31. December 2020 will get five tax-free years.


Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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