There is a ban on petrol cars in the Netherlands: 'eFuels will play no role after 2035'

The Dutch government wants us to drive electric

Whether we like it or not: the Dutch fleet is going to change. Unfortunately for policymakers and car manufacturers, no one can ensure that everyone drives electric by snapping their fingers. That is why we need a transition period. eFuels can be the solution for this. The Dutch government sees merit in synthetic fuels, but not in the long term.

TopGear Netherlands asks the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management whether there is a possibility to keep combustion engines alive with eFuels. According to the spokesperson, the ministry wants to stick to the climate and coalition agreement. This states that by 2030, only 'new emission-free passenger vehicles' may be sold.

Cars running on synthetic fuels are not considered emission-free. The vehicles emit CO2, but that CO2 has already been harvested from the air. Climate neutral, then. But that is not enough for policymakers: 'The government is of the opinion that synthetic fuels will not play a role in making β€œnew” passenger vehicles and vans more sustainable after 2035.'

Synthetic fuels only for existing cars

New cars therefore have to be driven in a different way. The Dutch government hopes that people who will continue to drive their 'old' petrol or diesel car for a while will switch to synthetic fuels. 'We assume that cars with a combustion engine will continue to drive around until 2050. It would be good if these vehicles ran more on eFuels," the ministry said.

The spokesperson continues: 'Of course, the share of electric vehicles will continue to increase until 2050 and eventually all vehicles will become electric.' For now, we should keep an eye on the Energy for Transport Act: 'This [law] aims to increase the share of renewable energy – such as biofuels, hydrogen and renewable synthetic fuels – in transport.'

The Dutch government believes that synthetic fuels will remain useful in other sectors. 'That does not alter the fact that synthetic fuels can play a role in making shipping and aviation more sustainable.' These sectors are also already testing alternatives, such as hydrogen. We know that the government would like to see this fuel succeed in cars.