Norway Doubles Down on Plans to Make Gas Cars Obsolete by 2025

Rather than ban petroleum-powered passenger vehicles outright, Norway says it plans to make EVs far easier (and cheaper) to live with.

Getty Images / Peter Ptschelinzew

The Scandinavian nation of Norway has already carved out a spot for itself in electric vehicle lovers' hearts. Not only does the state offer massive tax breaks to EV buyers, but last year, portions of the Norwegian government declared they were seeking an outright ban on all gasoline- and diesel-powered cars by the year 2025

Well, that was last year. Now, the country seems to be leaning away from the whole heavy-handed ban tactic and towards a solution that would see incentives flow towards electric car drivers while slapping fees on petroleum-powered vehicles. Norway, in essence, wants to tax internal-combustion cars out of existence.

It's all part of what the government describes as the "polluter pays principle" of its automotive taxation system, the government posted on transportation website Elbil. 

"The Norwegian Parliament have decided on a goal that all new cars sold by 2025 should be zero (electric or hydrogen) or low (plug-in hybrids) emission," the post states. "The Parliament will reach this goal with a strengthened green tax system based on the polluter pays principle, not a ban."

Norway uses tax breaks and other incentives to draw buyers to electric cars

The country's plans for its EV future also include a broader network of vehicle chargers scattered across the land, according to the post. Norway is aiming to achieve a direction issued by the European Clean Power for Transport stating there should be one public charging station for every 10 electric vehicles by 2020. Given the country's expectation of as many as 250,000 EVs on the road by that year, the nation would need around 25,000 public car chargers—about 23,600 more than it had in 2015.

Norway already lavishes benefits on EV purchasers, offering them everything from sales tax and VAT exemption (the latter of which tacks 25 percent on to a vehicle's sales price there) to free city parking and toll-free access to turnpikes and ferries. As a result, electric cars have picked up a substantial share of the market; as of 2015, EVs represented 22 percent of passenger cars in Norway.