China may soon set date for ban on new petrol, diesel cars: expert

FUSCHL AM SEE, Austria (Reuters) - China may join Britain and France in banning new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 and could set an earlier deadline, the secretary-general of the World Energy Council (WEC) said.

The Asian nation, which has been blighted by pollution, is the world’s largest car market.

A government announcement on a decision to ban new cars powered by fossil fuels by 2040 or earlier was “very likely within the next few months,” said WEC Secretary-General Christoph Frei at an energy conference in Austria.

“This would be a revolution for the auto industry,” he said.

A senior Chinese official said this month the country had begun studying when to ban the production and sale of cars using traditional fuels. He did not give a timeline for an announcement.

China is targeting 35 million vehicle sales by 2025 and wants new energy vehicles (NEVs) to make up at least one-fifth of that total, the Industry Ministry said in April.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Edmund Blair