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Combustion engines not on their way out

April 16, 2018

Vehicles powered by combustion engines will not disappear from German streets as quickly as policymakers hope, a study by oil major ExxonMobil has shown. A rise in inner-city freight transport will slow their exit.

Street traffic
Image: Imago/Frank Sorge

Two-thirds of vehicles in Germany would still be powered by internal combustion engines in 2040, oil company ExxonMobil predicted on Monday.

It said some 20 percent of cars in use could be electric by then, but because of the continued demand for trucks transporting goods and accounting for about a quarter of all road traffic, gas engines would still be essential to the economy in over 20 years from now, as would diesel engines despite recent controversies.

The study forecast that freight traffic via roads would increase by a quarter by 2040, thus slowing the exit of combustion engines.

Conflict of interest?

ExxonMobil also looked at how industry-related emissions were likely to develop over the next couple of decades.

The survey said the output of CO2 may halve by 2040 compared with 1990 levels. It argued that coal would become a lot less important for electricity generation, with its share sinking from 45 percent at present to just 15 percent.

But with natural gas gaining in importance in the decades ahead, CO2 emissions will still be too high for the German government to meet its reduction targets. Berlin had pledged a 70-percent reduction in emissions by 2040.

As it published its latest energy outlook, ExxonMobil saw a Massachusetts top court rejecting its bid to block investigators from obtaining records on whether the firm had concealed its knowledge of the role fossil fuels were playing in climate change.

The forthcoming probe will investigate if the oil firm's marketing or sale of fossil fuel products violated the US state's consumer protection legislation.

hg/jbh (dpa, Reuters)