Italy Increases Incentives for Electric Cars but Open up Funds to Fossil Fuel Vehicles

Originally published on the Transport & Environment (T&E)

News release on behalf of T&E, Kyoto Club, Legambiente, and Cittadini per l’Aria. Also available in Italian.

Italy’s Chamber of Deputies today approved additional incentives for zero and low-emission cars as part of its Recovery Decree, but also introduced new subsidies for the purchase of polluting vehicles. The move is a U-turn on the initial government proposal which did not provide for any subsidy to fossil fuel cars.

Transport & Environment (T&E), together with its Italian members, Kyoto Club, Legambiente and Cittadini per l’Aria, criticised the vote, which goes against the commitments made to Italians in both the national programme for government and the EU Green Deal.

Veronica Aneris, Italy director at T&E, said:

The vote in favour of the purchase of obsolete technologies such as diesel cars is a waste of the limited public money our country has available. It will result in new polluting cars spewing out toxic fumes in our cities for at least another 11 years, given the average life of the vehicles. Taxpayers’ money cannot be used for technologies that are harmful to our health, our planet and the livability of our cities.”

The incentives, strongly pushed by car dealers in order to empty their forecourts of unsold vehicles, encourage the purchase of Euro 6 cars that emit up to 110 grams of CO2 per km. This is despite the EU target of 95g/km that centered into force this year, and which European car manufacturers must comply with or face high fines. In 2019 the FCA group, which owns Fiat, had to resort to forming a pool with Tesla – costing it €1.8 billion – in order to avoid more substantial fines for not producing and selling zero and low-emission cars.

Veronica Aneris concluded:

On the eve of the launch of the Fiat500e, FCA’s first fully-electric mode, the government should have allocated funds to new technologies only. A smart, forward-looking industrial strategy would ensure that the state loan guarantee for FCA comes with green strings attached and that the scrapping mechanism would be for zero-emission cars only. Instead, with this decree, the government shows a worrying lack of vision in supporting the Italian automotive sector in the electric mobility revolution.”

Il Presidente della Repubblica Sergio Mattarella con John Elkann, Presidente di Fiat Chrysler Automobiles,in occasione della presentazione della nuova vettura “Fiat 500” elettrica
(foto di Francesco Ammendola – Ufficio per la Stampa e la Comunicazione della Presidenza della Repubblica)

The vote also confirms the initial government proposal to open up the national bus fleet renewal fund to polluting diesel vehicles, slowing down the electrification of public transport.

Electric Car, Images courtesy of Fiat, FCA

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