July 26, 2017 / 9:40 AM / 2 years ago

German conservative calls for phase-out of petrol and diesel

BERLIN, July 26 (Reuters) - Germany should soon start phasing out petrol and diesel, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) said as Britain announced it would ban the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered cars from 2040.

Germany’s car industry is in hot water after Der Spiegel reported on Friday that Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE >, BMW, Audi and Porsche may have colluded to fix the prices of diesel emissions treatment systems.

EU antitrust regulators are investigating allegations of a cartel. The supervisory boards of Daimler and Volkswagen are due to meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

“We need to start getting rid of combustion technology in the short-term,” Oliver Wittke, a transport expert in Merkel’s CDU, told Deutschlandfunk radio.

Herbert Behrens, a transport expert in the radical Left party, also said the government should start taking action now so that it could cope without fossil fuels by 2050.

“Today we can start setting out political guidelines and the framework so the automobile industry and employees know what’s in store for us,” he said, adding there was insufficient investment in electric cars.

Britain will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered cars from 2040 as part of a plan to get them off the roads altogether 10 years later, Environment Minister Michael Gove said on Wednesday.

Wittke said it was unacceptable to let Britain lead the way while Germany, the home of major carmakers such as Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW, was lagging behind.

He said Germany should, if possible, reach a binding agreement with its European partners on this, adding that the right time to quit had yet to be clarified. (Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Alison Williams)

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