The European Commission unveiled plans to strengthen the market for environmentally friendly vehicles in an effort to help cut back pollution caused by the transport sector. The rules, released last week, would oblige public authorities in cities and towns to have at least one quarter of their fleets made up of low or no pollution vehicles, including buses, rubbish trucks and other heavy transporters.
The commission, the EU's executive arm, believes the move would provide manufacturers with the guarantees they need to research and develop more of these kinds of vehicles for a larger market. "Faced with the growing problems caused by pollution in cities and the rise in the price of petrol, new means have to be found to help the automobile industry produce cleaner vehicles," transport commissioner Jacques Barrot said.
The commission estimates that the program would save hundreds of millions of euros over the next 25 years by limiting damage caused to the environment by pollutants and greenhouse gases and in energy savings. "These measures will help in time to increase energy efficiency in the transport sector, one of the most polluting and energy consuming sectors," said energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005