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Norway rolls away from gas and diesel cars

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Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor/File

(Read caption) Electric cars are hooked up to power outlets on a street, in Paris, France (March 18, 2014). According to several reports, politicians in Norway have agreed to a ban on the sale of gas and diesel vehicles by the year 2025.

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The days of gas and diesel vehicles are numbered in Norway. According to several reports, politicians have agreed to bring sales of such cars and trucks to a screeching halt by the year 2025.

To Americans and many others, the thought of such a ban might seem absurd--even impossible--but Norway is different. Electric vehicles already account for roughly 24 percent of new car sales in the Scandinavian nation, and as greater numbers of EVs roll into showrooms, their market share is increasing exponentially. (We mean that literally: electric car sales have doubled for the past several years.) 

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Granted, this didn't happen overnight. The Norwegian government has been working toward such goals for some time, replacing municipal vehicles, mass transit vehicles, and taxis with emission-free alternatives, and offering attractive incentives to consumers interested in electric cars.

Details of the gas and diesel ban haven't been made public, and one of Norway's major political parties--the right-wing "Progress Party"--says that nothing has been officially signed as yet. But even if the proposal undergoes some tweaks in terms of timeline, such a ban seems likely in most observers' eyes.

What's ironic in all this, of course, is that Norway remains one of the world's largest producers of petroleum, currently ranking #14 in terms of daily output. In other words, even if the ban rolls out as scheduled, Norway will continue to generate much of its income by feeding other countries' gas and diesel habits.

That said, unlike in the U.S. and other countries, which derive much of their electricity from coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels, Norway relies almost entirely on renewable resources. In fact, over 99 percent of its electricity comes from hydropower.

As far as zero-emission vehicles are concerned, Norway may be just the tip of the rapidly melting iceberg: the Netherlands hope to halt gas and diesel car sales by 2025, too. That makes two: one more, as the maxim goes, and it's a trend.

This article first appeared at The Car Connection.