The Dutch are… odd. I feel I have a small right to say so—in love, of course—since I spent the last two years living there, though I’m from the very not-so-exotic town of Newark, Texas. (Google map it. See the tumbleweeds, the cows, and… more cows? Like I said. Not exotic.) Therefore, living in the Netherlands was an especially bucket-of-ice-cold-water-over-the-head experience for me, and one of the most culture-shocking things I had to adjust to was the transportation system. The whole system was, well, bikes. Yes, the Dutch have their metros, trains, and cars (LOTS of them), but the bike-to-any-other-form-of-transportation ratio was staggering. As arguably the most bike- and eco-friendly countries in the world, I was not surprised to hear that the Netherlands is one of the first countries in the world to vow to move away from fossil fueled vehicles. However, they’re not stopping at just “moving away.” They are apparently packing up shop, selling the business, and moving out of the country to escape fossil fuels, proverbially speaking. They have just implemented a ban on the sale of new internal-combustion engine cars after 2025.
That’s right. No new cars sold in the Netherlands can be fueled by ancient dinosaur bones after 2025. They’re not the only ones. Norway had already made the vow. Paris had already made the vow. France, for that matter, has announced a plan to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2040 (though they haven’t banned internal-combustion engines yet, like Paris has). Even stodgy ol’ England has followed in France’s footsteps (of all things!) with their own ban set for 2040, and India and China are supposedly jumping on the bandwagon soon, if they haven’t already.
As for America? No worries, Buc-cees lovers. You’ll still have your stations to grab those over-sized fountain drinks, packs of chewing gums, and Statue of Liberty lighters. There’s no such plan for a ban in the U.S. However… should there be?
The Dutch Don’t Play
The Dutch, in true Dutch fashion, are all in or they’re out. They haven’t stopped at a ban on the sale of new fossil-fueled vehicles. They also rescinded their decision to grandfather in fossil-fueled cars purchased prior to the ban and have declared that they demand their streets be zero-emission by 2030. Can they do it?
I sort of hope so. As a poor student at the time I lived there, a bike was my sole means of transportation, and I have to say, plumes of gas smog in my face as I tried to fight the wind and rain on the way to school was not fun for me or my lungs. I think I’m for the ban. But what would it mean for American oil companies? What will it mean for Shell, which is—surprise, surprise—a Dutch company? I suppose time will tell.
To ban or not to ban? Yep. That is the question…