Provisions for the use of alternative fuels beyond 2035 could be expanded, under a draft plan from Europe’s biggest lawmaker group.

A ban on new-vehicle emissions in Europe from 2035 could be revised to allow the use of alternative fuels such as synthetic petrol, synthetic diesel, and hydrogen – and in turn keep the internal-combustion engine alive amid the onslaught of electrification.

According to a report from news outlet Reuters, the European People’s Party (EPP) is pushing to revise the rules to explicitly allow for the use of zero-emission fuels in new cars and vans after 2035.

While provisions were included in the legislature to allow for biofuels and synthetic fuels, an internal draft document created by the EPP and sighted by Reuters wants the laws opened up to allow “cutting-edge combustion engine technology”.

Synthetic fuels can be created by capturing carbon from the atmosphere and turning it into petrol or diesel using renewable energy, with the tailpipe emissions from vehicles powered by these fuels effectively being carbon neutral – being that they do not add any additional carbon back into the atmosphere.

Meanwhile, biofuels can be produced from plant and waste animal products. Biodiesel, for example, can be made from algae – which absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during its growth.

As reported in March 2023, Porsche and BMW were understood to have been lobbying for the allowance – with both companies investing in synthetic fuel technologies – along with supercar maker Ferrari.

While several car manufacturers have already announced they are no longer investing in the development of internal-combustion engines – the latest being Nissan in June 2024 – others have pledged to continue to create petrol and diesel engines.

In May 2024, Toyota, Mazda, and Subaru announced at a joint media conference the companies were working on a new generation of internal-combustion engines designed to run on synthetic fuels, biofuels, and liquid hydrogen – helped with hybrid technology to aid in efficiency and performance.

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