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July 27, 2017

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Merkel against demonizing diesel cars

GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly warned against “demonizing” diesel engines, a German government spokeswoman said yesterday after Britain announced a plan to ban combustion-powered cars by 2040.

Britain said it would ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 as part of a plan to get them off the roads altogether 10 years later, but officials in Berlin suggested Europe’s largest economy would not follow suit.

“The chancellor has often warned against demonising diesel motors — diesel motors emit less CO2 and are therefore more environmentally-friendly but of course we need to work honestly and of course we continue to look for other solutions,” German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said.

She added Merkel was, however, also promoting electric cars.

A Transport Ministry spokesman said that in view of existing commitments to achieve a carbon neutral economy by 2050, focusing exclusively on a target date for phasing out combustion engines would be “unimaginative.”

But others are in favor of Germany taking action more rapidly, with a member of Merkel’s Christian Democrats saying the country should start phasing out petrol and diesel soon.

“We need to start getting rid of combustion technology in the short-term,” Oliver Wittke, a transport expert, told a radio station.

He said it was unacceptable to let Britain lead the way while Germany, the home of Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW, was lagging behind.


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