Joining a number of major European cities that have resolved to phase out diesel cars from their municipal borders, the city government of Rome announced earlier this week to ban diesel cars from the center of the city by 2024.
Plans by the city government to exclude diesel-engine cars from the city center are among the most ambitious yet among European capitals; Rome would join Paris, which announced plans to ban diesel- and gas-engined cars by 2025, and all of the U.K., which aims to do the same on a nationwide level by 2040. Rome also plans to achieve this measure, which would not apply to the entire city but rather its center, a year before Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City plan to ban diesels within their borders by 2025.
The announced plan follows a number of incremental pollution control measures by several cities that have sought to tackle the problem of air quality, using methods like congestion charging, weekday bans and vehicle bans based on the age of a given car. The latter method was phased in by Paris in 2017, banning cars made before 1997 from the center of the city based on the logic that older cars have technologically inferior emissions control equipment. The Parisian ban was criticized for discriminating against poorer residents who may not use cars daily, but simply own low-mileage, older vehicles that they use occasionally.
Rome, for its part, has already tried to ban cars based on odd/even license plate numbers, but this restriction has not been well enforced.
With a population of 2.8 million, Rome is one of the lesser-populated European capitals — generally ranking eighth behind Kiev, Madrid, Berlin, Saint Petersburg, London, Moscow and Istanbul — but its level of traffic congestion and air pollution is on the high side with the city also suffering from noise and light pollution.
One of the factors that doesn’t help Rome and other European cities is the prevalence of diesel cars in Italy as a whole, which trends around 60 percent nationally. The city’s notorious levels of congestion also contribute to the declining air quality. By comparison, much larger cities like Berlin and Moscow tend to have more trees and parks as a percentage of city land.
Starting July 1, the city of Paris will ban vehicles made before 1997 from the city center on weekdays, Le Monde reports. Additionally, motorcycles made before 2000 will also fall under this …