What this means for Canada is that our leaders need to accept the responsibility for governing our vast natural resources and developing them in an environmentally responsible way. This is an end goal that’s good for Canada and good for our democratic allies around the world. It’s also important to balance or tip the scales, depending on your perspective, edging democratic nations ahead of countries that embrace some tinpot dictator.
Returning focus to the European Union, it’s an interesting market to consider. It’s clearly dependent on foreign sources of fuel and it’s also transitioning to alternative fuels faster than in many other parts of the world, including North America. So, the trajectory of fuel usage in the EU could indicate where things are headed over here within the next five years or so.
As we went to press, the EU walked back part of its plan to ban sales of all new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles starting in 2035. A last-minute carve-out appeared in the form of ICE vehicles that run on carbon-neutral fuels, also known as e-fuels, which we covered in a previous issue of OCTANE.
This late revision was championed by Germany, no surprise given that three key manufacturers of high-performance cars are BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. An earlier carve-out also allows niche manufacturers that produce fewer than 1,000 vehicles per year to be powered by petroleum products.
But the writing was already on the wall, so many European consumers have already abandoned ICE vehicles. From April to June 2022, combined sales of gasoline and diesel passenger cars went from 62.0% market share to 55.8%. That’s a huge drop-off.
In this same quarter, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounted for 9.9% of total passenger car sales, while plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) captured 8.7% of the market. Sales of vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) plunged by 62.9% across the EU, while another alternative fuel source, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) grew by 7.9%.