When Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported on Friday that the government coalition and its two support parties had reached a deal to stop the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles in 2025, the news was spread to a number of US media outlets thanks in large part to an enthusiastic tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk:
Just heard that Norway will ban new sales of fuel cars in 2025. What an amazingly awesome country. You guys rock!! pic.twitter.com/uAXuBkDYuR— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 3, 2016
"Just heard that Norway will ban new sales of fuel cars in 2025. What an amazingly awesome country. You guys rock!!" Musk wrote.
But as outlets including CNBC, The Independent and Gizmodo wrote up their reports, the political agreement crumbled before it ever really took hold.
Although DN quoted Liberal spokesman Ola Elvestuen as saying “there will only be sales of zero-emissions vehicles in 2025), a press release from government coalition party the Conservatives (Høyre) called the DN report “misleading”.
“The government and its partners agree on a new step on the way towards a low-emission society […] but there is no talk of banning the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles in 2025 as one would be led to believe in Dagens Næringsliv,” the press release stated.
Elvestuen attempted to clarify his statement by saying that the parties had only agreed to “set target numbers for how many low- and zero-emissions” there should be in Norway by 2025 in order to reach climate goals that will be presented next year as part of a national transport plan.
“We have not reached an agreement on how to reach the goals,” he said.
The opposition Labour Party said the mixed signals from the government and its support parties amounted to “complete climate chaos”.
“The agreement is unclear and of little substance. The parties can’t even agree on what they agree on,” Labour spokesman Terje Lien Aasland told NTB.
So while Musk’s jubilation may have been premature, Norway is already a global leader when it comes to zero-emissions vehicles.
In 2015, 17.1 percent of new car registrations were zero-emissions vehicles, giving the Nordic country the highest market share for clean vehicles anywhere in the world.
The Norwegian vehicle market accounts for less than one percent of all vehicles in Europe.