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War on Cars: EU aims to ban cars in cities, force train ridership

by Nick Aziz

A new proposal by the European Commission is calling for the complete ban of oil-powered vehicles by 2050.

Europe has always been one of the most aggressive regions when it comes to taxing fuel purchases and implementing strict emissions regulations, but the European Commission has announced a new proposal that takes the global war on cars to the next level.

In an effort to reduce oil dependence, transport head Siim Kallas unveiled a plan on Monday calling for the complete ban of gas- and diesel-powered cars in Europe by 2050. The plan also contains a provision that would require most trips of 186 miles or more to be done so by train, forcing drivers to abandon their cars.

In the 1980s, Mr. Kallas was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Politicians in the United Kingdom were quick to reject the idea. Transport Minister Norman Baker pointed to the absurdity of the plan.

"We will not be banning cars from city centers anymore than we will be having rectangular bananas," he said.

Meanwhile, a prominent motoring association in Britain also chimed in on Mr. Kallas' radical scheme. Hugh Bladon, a spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, said the idea was "crazy" and could be economically disastrous.

"I suggest that he goes and finds himself a space in the local mental asylum," Bladon told the Telegraph. "If he wants to bring everywhere to a grinding halt and to plunge us into a new dark age, he is on the right track. The man is off his rocker."

UK Independence Party transport spokesman Christopher Monckton said the plans are "in the realms of fantasy".

He added: "They want to ban cars from cities, they want to force everybody on to rail and canals - it is as if they have been taken over by the shade of the Victorian engineers.

But as the UK's sovereignty slowly erodes to the EU, it remains unclear which government will have final say in the years to come.