By Andrew Ganz
Thursday, Mar 12th, 2009 @ 1:26 pm
 
Just 21 years from now, Sweden says it wants to have completely reduced its dependence on oil by becoming an "oil free" country by 2030. Sweden has heavily invested in renewable fuels, like E85, and about 85 percent of domestic-brand cars - Volvos and Saabs - sold in Sweden run on ethanol.

Previously, Sweden had announced its intentions to become "oil free" by 2020, but the government announced a relaxation of that rather challenging-to-achieve goal yesterday by pushing back the deadline to 2030. The premise is that new cars sold in Sweden would have to run on renewable fuels and clean electricity.

The country's energy mostly comes from nuclear and renewable power and, according to Autocar, domestic heating comes from industrial waste energy and geothermal heat. The country's auto industry is one of the few that's still heavily dependent on oil, a fact not unnoticed by Swedish enterprise minister Maud Olofsson.

Olofsson has remained the government's most vocal critic of using state funds for low-interest loans to Saab and Volvo.

The announcement comes as Sweden's two home automakers both face questionable futures. Should neither brand survive the current auto industry crisis, it seems unlikely that foreign automakers would be willing to invest heavily in forcing their products to comply with Swedish regulations - unless other countries instate similar requirements.