The changes would reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent and also would reduce imports of foreign oil.

No Gasoline-Powered Vehicles in European Cities by 2050?

A European Commission white paper proposes this, envisioning a more efficient transport system involving roadways, air, and shipping to move freight and people. Greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by half, it forecasts.

The European Commission has published a white paper, "Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system," explaining what the continent's transport system might look like in 2050. The most striking goal it includes is having cities completely phase out gasoline-powered cars by 2050. A high-speed European rail network would be completed by 2050, air and ship transport would be optimized, and the infrastructure would be in place so that at least half of all freight that would have been transported by trucks more than 300 kilometers would be shifted to rail or waterborne transport, it says.

The plan foresees airlines increasing their use of sustainable, low-carbon fuels to 40 percent by then and shipping cutting its carbon emissions by at least 40 percent. The changes would reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent and also would reduce Europe's imports of foreign oil, it forecasts.

"Rail, especially for freight, is sometimes seen as an unattractive mode," it states. "But examples in some Member States prove that it can offer quality service. The challenge is to ensure structural change to enable rail to compete effectively and take a significantly greater proportion of medium and long distance freight (and also passengers – see below). Considerable investment will be needed to expand or to upgrade the capacity of the rail network. New rolling stock with silent brakes and automatic couplings should gradually be introduced."

More and more efficient coastal entry points are needed, and inland waterways must play a larger role in moving goods inland and in linking European seas, the plan states.

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