Four major cities around the world want to ban diesel cars

Recently at C40 Summit on climate change, four metropolis-Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens, have decided to put a ban on diesel cars, to tackle air pollution and improve local environment.

    Dec 09, 2016 6:50 PM  PT
Four major cities around the world want to ban diesel cars
author: Claire   

If you're living in a big city, traffic congestion and air pollution are always among the most crucial problems. Recently at the C40 Summit on climate change, four of the world's major cities - Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens - decided to enact a ban on diesel vehicles. This was done in an effort to tackle air pollution and improve the local environment.

The announcement was made on December 2, 2016. The mayors of the four cities said they are determined to take diesel cars and vans off the road by 2025.

"Mayors have already stood up to say that climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face. Today, we also stand up to say we no longer tolerate air pollution and the health problems and deaths it causes, particularly for our most vulnerable citizens," Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, explained at the conference that took place in Mexico.

Diesel cars are much more popular in Europe than in North America, accounting for almost 60% of the European vehicles in total. That's related to their lower price and higher burning efficiency. In France, diesel and gasoline costs around $1.3 and $1.5, while in the United States, the price is 60 and 64 cents per liter. Not only are diesel costs cheaper, but it also burns fuel more efficiently than gas while producing 20% less carbon dioxide emissions. As such, choosing the fuel that's most cost-effective often becomes the option of choice.

But why are diesel cars being expelled now? It's because the combustion of the fuel will produce a larger amount of soot and nitrogen oxides than gasoline. And this contributes to the formation of microscopic particles in the air. When people breathe in such small and hazardous substances, they will stay in the lung tissue and pass through bloodstream. This can cause asthma, cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Such pollutants are directly leading to the deaths of 3 million people each year around the world.

And the research also shows that in low and middle-income regions, 98 percent of cities don't meet the World Health Organization guidelines on air quality. In the wealthy countries of the world, the number is 56% - not entirely worry-free. Diesel in European cities is burned most often in privately-owned cars. However, in some emerging countries such as China, it is often used in heavy industries and city-wide construction. Diesel offers more power and more efficiency. Beijing announced this past May that the city would retire 400,000 trucks and mini buses that run on low-quality, high-sulfur fuel in 2016 and 2017.

There is no detailed information available on how the aforementioned metropolitan cities will take effective measures on banning diesel cars. This is a topic worth keeping an eye on.