France to end sales of petrol, diesel vehicles by 2040

WEB_PHOTO_Nicolas Hulot_06072017

French Minister of Ecological and Inclusive Transition Nicolas Hulot delivers a speech to present his plan on climate on July 6, 2017 in Paris.

French Minister of Ecological and Inclusive Transition Nicolas Hulot delivers a speech to present his plan on climate on July 6, 2017 in Paris.

PARIS - France would end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 as part of an ambitious plan to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord, new Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot announced on Thursday.

"We are announcing an end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040," Hulot said, calling it a "veritable revolution."

Hulot acknowledged that reaching the target would be "tough", particularly for automakers, but said that France's car industry was well equipped to make the switch.

READ: Volvo to phase out petrol-only engines starting 2019

French car manufacturers Peugeot, Citroen and Renault ranked first, second and third on a 2016 list of large car manufacturers with the lowest carbon emissions, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said.

Hulot, a veteran environmental campaigner, was among several political newcomers to whom President Emmanuel Macron gave top jobs in his government.

Several European countries had announced plans to dramatically reduce the amount of polluting petrol and diesel cars on their roads in favour of cleaner hybrid or all-electric vehicles.

Germany aimed to put one million electric cars on the road by 2020.

In 2016, hybrid and electric cars accounted for 3.6 percent of new cars registered in Western Europe.