Norway’s public policy that puts environmentalism front and center stands in stark contrast to the obvious deconstruction of protections in this country.
Sales of electric and hybrid cars in Norway outpaced those running on fossil fuels last year, cementing the country’s position as a global leader in the push to restrict vehicle emissions.
Norway, a major oil exporter, would seem an unlikely champion of newer, cleaner-running vehicles. But the country offers generous incentives that make electric cars cheaper to buy, and provides additional benefits once the vehicles are on the road.
Countries around the world have ramped up their promotion of hybrid and electric cars. As China tries to improve air quality and dominate new vehicle technology, the government there wants one in five cars sold to run on alternative fuels by 2025. France and Britain plan to end the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars by 2040.
Norway is ahead of the rest of the world.About 52 percent of the new cars sold in the country last year ran on new forms of fuel, according the data released on Thursday by Norway’s Road Traffic Advisory Board, OFV. The share of diesel cars, which were once considered more environmentally friendly but are now in the spotlight for their noxious emissions, fell sharply.
“This trend will only increase,” Oyvind Solberg Thorsen, OFV’s director, said in a statement. “This is good for both road safety and the environment.”
Sales of electric cars could have been even higher, according to Christina Bu, secretary general of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, but some buyers continued to hold out for newer models like Tesla’s Model 3.
Although electric vehicles make up a just small portion of the global market now, automakers — including those, like Tesla, that produce only electric models, and giants like Volkswagen — have bet billions of dollars that such vehicles will soon be as cheap and ubiquitous as conventional cars. Investments in charging stations and other technology connected to electric vehicles are also increasing.
General Motors and Ford Motor have said they will shift their focus to electric models, while carmakers like Volvo have moved to phase out the internal combustion engine entirely. Joining the fray are entrepreneurs like James Dyson who have their own plans to build electric vehicles.
As the market grows, makers of electric cars are facing difficulties. Tesla has lagged in its production of the Model 3, its first mass-market offering. And a slump in overall car sales in the United States could put a crimp in the expansion of electric vehicles.
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