Germany could step out of line with Europe when it comes to the petrol and diesel driving ban

Germany’s finance minister has rejected a proposal to ban internal combustion engine cars and has backed the development of synthetic fuels.


A senior member of the German government has suggested that the country will not sign a European Union legislative proposal to de facto ban brand new petrol and diesel cars from 2035 unless provision is made for synthetic fuel cars.

German authorities had previously requested an exemption from the laws for engines running on synthetic fuels. These so-called “eFuels” would capture CO2 and recycle it into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel without adding more CO2 to the atmosphere like petroleum-derived fuels do.

Two of the country’s largest automakers see eFuels as part of the future of the industry. The BMW Group announced in June 2020 that it was investing US$12.5 million (AU$18 million) in a start-up that has created a way to produce synthetic fuels using solar power.



In April 2022, Porsche announced it would spend US$75 million (AUD108 million) to fund research and development of synthetic fuels using wind and solar energy, with plans to build plants in Chile, the US and Australia .

Porsche executives have previously expressed their desire to see some eFuels-powered variants of the legendary 911 ICE sports car in the next decade.



The activist group is using the same argument with which they successfully sued the federal government in April 2021. At the time, the country’s top constitutional court ruled that the country’s laws were insufficient to successfully fulfill the 2015 Paris Agreement – which she signed.

Germany’s Finance Minister Christian Lindner said his government would not approve the EU’s move to ban the sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars because such a move would destroy a decade of future technological development.

“No matter how noble the motifs, we don’t know if there are still options for technologies like synthetic fuels, which nobody has on the agenda today, but could very quickly come back into focus at a tipping point in the future,” said Lindner at an industry event.



The proposed law by the European Commission – the EU’s executive branch – calls for a 100 percent reduction in CO2 tailpipe emissions from new cars by 2035, effectively limiting vehicles to battery-electric or hydrogen-electric propulsion.

However, Lindner’s threats could only be a bluff to put pressure on the European Parliament to accept special rules for synthetic fuels.

The federal government consists of a three-party coalition, with Lindner a member of the pro-business Free Democratic Party, while the environment portfolio is managed by Green party Steffi Lemke – who dismissed Lindner’s comments in a written statement. The coalition is understood to have previously agreed to support the ICE ban.



Lindner seemed to soften his attitude in one go tweet writes after the event: “The forthcoming EU decision on fleet limits for cars is not open to technology. However, synthetic fuels are a climate-neutral option for the long-established internal combustion engine. We have to keep that for our jobs.”

If the European Commission includes regulations for eFuel-powered ICE vehicles, it could help provide a green way forward for developing countries that are unable to quickly build infrastructure to support electric vehicles or hydrogen cars, while also allowing long-distance travel keep diesel trucks and small series sports cars on the road.

Ben Zechariah

Ben Zachariah is a veteran Melbourne-based writer and motoring journalist who has worked in the automotive industry for over 15 years. Previously a truck driver, Ben completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021. He is considered an expert in the field of classic car investments.

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