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This country is leading the world in making the shift to electric cars — and the U.S. wants to follow in its footsteps

"Our message to the rest of the world is crystal clear."

Norway, Electric vehicles

Photo Credit: iStock

Norway is seemingly leading the world in the shift toward electric vehicles (EVs). 

Last year, about 80% of new cars sold in the country were battery-operated, The New York Times reports. According to CBS, 138,265 new EVs were sold in Norway last year. 

Compared to Norway's 80%, EVs only made up 8.6% of cars sold throughout the entire European Union last year (through September). The incredible popularity of EVs is part of Norway's goal for all of its vehicles to be zero-emission by 2025, which is when ​​the country will end the sales of internal combustion engine cars. 

The country has gone to great lengths to promote the sale of Evs — the vehicles are made tax-free, and EV drivers are charged lower fares for tolls and public parking. 

Even with issues of unreliable chargers and long wait periods, this shift has brought many advantages without any dire consequences. It has reordered the entire auto industry, with Tesla taking the top spot as the nation's most popular EV brand.

On the environmental side, the percentage of planet-warming pollution in Oslo, Norway's capital, has fallen 30% since 2009. Yet, the country hasn't seen major unemployment rates among gas station workers, and the electrical grid has remained intact. Levels of nitrogen oxides — byproducts of burning gas and diesel that cause asthma and other ailments — have significantly declined.

"We are on the verge of solving the NOx [nitrous oxide] problem," Tobias Wolf, Oslo's chief engineer for air quality, told The New York Times.

Norway reached its goal of having EVs make up 50% of the country's new car sales in 2019, a feat that the United States hopes to achieve by 2030. The country has also subsidized the construction of fast-charging vehicles. 

"Our message to the rest of the world is crystal clear: Now there is no excuse for the internal combustion engines' unnecessary pollution when the climate crisis is so urgent to solve," Christina Bu, secretary general of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, said in a statement reported by CBS.

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