More than half of cars sold in Norway last year were 'clean'
Hybrid vehicles made up 31.3% of all cars sold in Norway last year, while zero-emission vehicles (mostly EVs, but also some hydrogen-powered vehicles) reached market share of 20.9%. Consequently, and for the first time for a full calendar year, 'clean cars' made up more than half of all new cars sold in the country, 52.2%, to be exact. For 2016, that figure still was only slightly over 40% (24.5% hybrids and 15.7% zero-emission vehicles).
It's another milestone for Norway, which for a number of years now has been the world leader in the introduction of electric powertrains, and an interesting paradox for a country that is also the largest producer of oil in Europe outside of Russia. The Norwegian government's ambitious target – to stop selling new cars with a combustion engine by 2025 – seems a little less impossible.
Diesel and petrol cars are heavily taxed in Norway, in contrast to hybrid, hydrogen and pure-electric vehicles, which are sparingly taxed, or not at all – making their sticker price competitive with those of fossil-fuel cars. Clean car drivers also benefit from reduced parking fees, ferry tolls and the option to use bus lanes.
However, the right-wing government elected last year wants to reduce some of the benefits for clean cars in the future. It already tried to abolish tax exemptions for large, luxurious electric sedans, but had to give up its plans for a 'Tesla tax' in the face of widespread public opposition.