German EU official against date to drop combustion engine

The German member of the European Union's executive body says it would be wrong to set a Europe-wide date to end the sale of cars with diesel and gasoline engines.

Britain last week announced plans to ban the sale of new vehicles using such engines starting in 2040, following similar moves in France and Norway. But automaking powerhouse Germany is reluctant to follow suit.

EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told Monday's edition of the daily Rheinische Post that "a uniform EU date to give up the combustion engine would be significantly premature and wrong at this point."

Oettinger argued that countries such as Poland still generate most electricity from coal. He said "if they switched to electromobility too soon, that wouldn't help the climate either because of rising CO2 emissions."