The European Union has proposed rules that will effectively end the sale of new gas and diesel-powered cars in 2035, but Germany wants to keep internal combustion alive in the electric age.
The country's transport minister, Voker Wissing, said it won't back the proposal unless engines burning carbon-neutral synthetic fuels, known as e-fuels, are allowed.
"The EU Commission should propose regulation that allows combustion engines to be registered after 2035, if they can verifiably only be fueled with synthetic fuels," he told reporters in Berlin.
Synthetic fuels are being developed that are created using water and carbon captured from the atmosphere, so they don't contribute any additional greenhouse gases when burned.
German automaker Porsche is set to use an e-fuel in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup racing series this year.
It's produced by Highly Innovative Fuels in Punta Arenas, Chile, in a pilot factory powered by wind turbines that the automaker has invested in and has been demonstrated in a production 911 that was able to use it without any modifications to its engine.
It costs $45 per gallon to make today, but the price is expected to drop to $8 by 2026 and continue to be reduced from there. Conventional gasoline currently sells for around $7 per gallon in Germany.
Lamborghini, which along with Porsche is part of the Volkswagen group, is also looking into e-fuel as an alternative to battery power as its customers prefer the sound of an internal combustion engine's exhaust to the near silent whir of electric motors.
Wissing's libertarian Free Democratic Party has support from the center-right Union block, which thinks the ban will harm Germany's automotive industry, while the Green Party backs the European ban.
Formula One is also planning to introduce a zero-carbon fuel during the 2026 season when Ford will join the series in partnership with the Red Bull team. Ford's global director of performance Motorsports, Mark Rushbrook, told Fox News Digital that working with e-fuel was part of the reason it wanted to get involved, as it believes it can be an option in its sports cars and trucks.
"We are committed to full electric vehicles, it’s an important part of our future, but we also know we’re going to have combustion engine vehicles in different parts of the world for a long time, and we want to do that in the most responsible way that we can," Rushbrook said.
Ford CEO Jim Farley has previously said battery power isn't the best option for heavy trucks used for towing long distances, due to the added weight and charging time required, and has indicated that it will build V8-powered sports cars as long as it can, unlike Dodge, which is phasing them out this year in favor of electric models.
"Look, we’ll do what’s required, and we’re going to grow our EV business to two million vehicles in four years and most of that will be conquest, but we want these loyal customers who own F-150s and Broncos and Mustangs to continue to have a great experience," Farley said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report