Norway is arguably the leader in the global pursuit for sustainable energy. The Scandinavian nation currently has the highest number of electric cars per capita – and they’re only getting better.

More than half of the new cars bought in Norway so far in 2017 are either electric or hybrid.

Through January, electric cars accounted for 17.6 per cent of new vehicle registrations, while hybrids accounted for 33.8 per cent. That’s 51.4 per cent, combined.

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Hybrid cars feature an electric motor and a normal gasoline engine. The latter kicks in once the former runs out of juice. Electric cars don’t use any gasoline. Because they don’t have a traditional engine, the vehicle has more room for batteries, allowing the car to travel further on electric power than a hybrid.

“This is a milestone on Norway’s road to an electric car fleet,” Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, told AFP. “The transport sector is the biggest challenge for climate policy in the decade ahead.”

Image: Twitter/Vidar Helgesen

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The movement towards renewable energy in transportation has added significance for Norway, which is among the world’s most oil-rich nations. In 2016, exports of crude oil and natural gas accounted for NOK350 billion (US$42 billion).

But Norway exports almost all of that gas – the nation is in the process of banning all cars that run on fossil fuels by 2025 – and invests that money in renewable energy efforts, mainly hydropower. In an effort to export renewable energy, Norway has made agreements with other EU nations to trade excess power based on available resources. Denmark, for instance, sends excess energy produced by wind power to Norway in exchange for energy from hydro power. This way, Denmark has energy on days the wind isn’t blowing.  

In the US, Hawaii is making a similar push for green energy in transportation. The state is considering a bill that would require all ground transportation run on renewable energy by 2045.

Read More: Hawaii Aims for 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2045

In January, the Netherlands announced all its electric trains are now powered by wind energy. The French train company Alstom announced the CO2 emission-free “Corodia iLint” last September. The first hydrogen passenger train will start running in Germany in December 2017.     

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas contributing to man-made climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that fossil fuel combustion for transportation accounts for a third of CO2 emissions in the United States.

Norway’s government has taken extensive steps to curb climate change, like becoming the first nation on Earth to ban deforestation. The latest development, however, has come from the people opting for green energy cars over gas guzzlers, proving that coercive power isn’t necessary for a sustainable future.

We just have to choose it. 


Defend the Planet

Norway is the Undisputed World Leader on Electric & Hybrid Cars

By James O'Hare