Daniel Susco
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Rome to Ban Diesel Cars in City by 2024 (Maybe, Kinda, Sorta)

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We recently discussed how Germany was debating whether or not its cities could ban diesel-powered vehicles in the interest of cleaner air, eventually coming down on the side of yes, diesel bans are all right. This isn’t the only bad news for sellers of diesel vehicles this week, though, as word is coming from Rome that the Eternal City is planning to ban diesel cars from its city center by 2024, according to city mayor Virginia Raggi.

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This curtailing of personal vehicles would have an especially large effect in the capital city, as Rome isn’t home to large industry, so nearly all pollution comes from its crowded roadways. In addition, this ban would have a large effect on Italians at large, as about two thirds of all of the cars sold in the country last year were powered by diesel.

Also, Rome has an additional problem with the pollution besides all of the lung disease (and skin aging, etc.)—air pollution from vehicles damages the city’s many ancient monuments. For example, St. Peter’s Basilica was cleaned of its darkened, dingy patina over the course of several years starting in 2000, but is already becoming re-stained by pollution.

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Of course, this ban isn’t coming in a vacuum—Rome has been afflicted by heavy air pollution for some time, and the city has tried a number of methods to reduce this. For example, it has tried banning older, more polluting vehicles from the roads when pollution is at critical levels, and has also tried enacting a license-plate ban based on whether the last digit is even or odd on alternating days.

However, so far, these regulations are regularly ignored as police only lightly enforce them, or are circumvented by people who simply buy a second, used car and alternate driving them. So, it remains to be seen just how the diesel car ban will be enforced, and whether it will have any effect at all.

News Sources: The Guardian, Virginia Raggi via Facebook