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Global Economy

Cars in Europe: Combustion engines in reverse, hybrids overtake diesel

Car buyers in the EU are training for the energy transition: almost two fifths of all newly registered cars last year were hybrid, plug-in or electric vehicles, according to the European industry association Acea (European Automobile Manufacturers Association).

Although conventional combustion engines continued to dominate, their share has shrunk to around 60 percent, also because the lack of chips caused sales of diesel and gasoline vehicles to collapse.


Hybrid vehicles saw the most spectacular jump – from 1.1 to 1.9 million cars – this growth being attributed in part to new government subsidies for low- and zero-emission vehicles under pandemic recovery programs in Europe. Plug-in hybrids are seen as the transition technology to all-electric cars.


Diesel cars are considered obsolete and ended up in the slow lane with almost a third fewer new registrations (minus 31.5 percent, from 2.77 million to 1.901191). With a total of more than 1.9 million new registrations (1,901,239), hybrid vehicles were just ahead of diesels for the first time last year, even though there were only 48 vehicles more.

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