When gas stations disappear“By 2040, you will not find gas stations in Korea, and all cars will run on electricity or hydrogen.” It may sound like an unrealistic imagination, but changes are being implemented rapidly. European countries are declaring a ban on the sale of internal combustion engine-powered vehicles by 2025 or 2040. France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Norway joined the initiative, and Germany, a leading automaker, suggested that it agrees with the direction of banning sales of internal combustion engine-powered vehicles.
China is making the sale of pollution-free cars mandatory in 2018 and is to announce a timeline for production and sale ban of domestic internal combustion engine-powered vehicles. In the United States, ten states, including California, have mandatory sales of eco-friendly cars, and the portion is increasing every year.
Can the Korean government declare a ban on sales of internal combustion engine-powered cars? While it should be carefully approached in consideration of the automobile industry’s circumstances and the impact on the market, it cannot be delayed further, considering the international trend. Fortunately, the government efforts have improved the distribution conditions for eco-friendly vehicles. The Ministry of Environment and local governments offer the world’s highest level of subsidies for purchases of environmentally friendly vehicles. Charging infrastructure is rapidly being established, and various policies such as exemption from tolls are in place.
In addition to the tangible and intangible infrastructure, the Ministry of Environment needs to establish a systematic road map to expand distribution of eco-friendly vehicles. The aforementioned mandatory sale of eco-friendly vehicles can be an option.
While there are 250,000 eco-friendly cars in Korea now, the transition to eco-friendly vehicles is necessary to keep up with the global trend and create a sustainable environment for future generations. Before it is too late, interested parties need to discuss specific goals and execution plans.
*Head of the KPMG Climate Change and Sustainability Department