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Paris Bans Half of All Cars On the Road

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the to-drive-or-not-to-drive dept.

Earth 405

cartechboy writes "Pollution is becoming a very large issue in major cities due to the amount of vehicles on the road. To try and help this issue Paris just banned all vehicles on alternate odd and even license plates today and tomorrow. Of course, electric cars and hybrids are exempt from the new restrictions as they aren't part of the problem, rather they are seen as part of the solution. Naturally taxis, buses, emergency vehicles, and cars carrying three or more passengers (hooray for carpooling) are also exempt. High levels of particulate matter are blamed for all the various respiratory diseases, while higher oxides of nitrogen are a primary cause of smog. We'd have to say that this ban probably won't be the last one as traffic levels increase over time."

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purchase time (4, Funny)

Icculus (33027) | about 8 months ago | (#46509763)

Time for an extra set of plates...

Re:purchase time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510031)

This is exactly what happened in Beijing when the city gov implemented a similar policy

Its silly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510065)

The combined pollution of all the cars on the road in the entire country of France is a tiny drop in the bucket of pollution caused by industrial waste, mostly from poor countries struggling to get a foothold in the global economy.

They are plugging a leak in the wall while ignoring the torrent pouring out of the wide open window right next to it.

Re:Its silly (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46510237)

Those don't cause smog in your own city, and transport represents over a quarter of all energy usage, so gotta call BS on the general "Drop in the bucket" principle you're pushing as well.

It's only true if you're ignoring both the context, and giving a lot of wiggle room for the phrase "drop in the bucket".

Re:Its silly (2)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | about 8 months ago | (#46510307)

Even if true, which I doubt, it's irrelevant. Paris can only control their environment, not the industrial policies of another country. Like it or not, they're doing what they can do.

Re:Its silly (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510319)

The combined pollution of all the cars on the road in the entire country of France is a tiny drop in the bucket of pollution caused by industrial waste, mostly from poor countries struggling to get a foothold in the global economy.

They are plugging a leak in the wall while ignoring the torrent pouring out of the wide open window right next to it.

Talking about silly, you didn't read any of the article in question did you? They are addressing a local smog problem. Please elaborate on how limiting local pollution in the city of Paris is an ineffective way of reducing the local smog problem in the city of Paris?

Re:Its silly (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 8 months ago | (#46510353)

Which of the "poor countries" right next door to France are causing all the smog in Paris? This is specifically to reduce extreme air pollution in the city that has been peaking quite high recently.

They are not trying to solve all pollution with this measure, nor is it permanent.

Re:purchase time (3, Informative)

tommyatomic (924744) | about 8 months ago | (#46510167)

Or you could go the legal route and buy a cheap car for the days when your primary vehicle cant be driven. Odd or even days respectively.

Are they also going to ban all those bloody scooters in paris. Those things are cheap to drive and the exhaust is filthy.

Re:purchase time (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 8 months ago | (#46510259)

And what will the rental car companies do?

Paris had cars? (1, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#46509771)

honestly that was the most shocking thing i've read in the last few days

the way the europeans talk they live in ancient cities where smiling people happily bike, walk or take the train everywhere on thousand year old streets and the $8 a gallon gas makes life awesome

except in evil USA where we suck up the world's resources driving everywhere

Re:Paris had cars? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46509889)

You built your cities so that biking, walking or taking the train isn't an option. That's that difference. Many people in Europe, most even, use cars daily, but they're not used for everything by everyone. If people want to take the train or ride a bicycle, they can, because the infrastructure exists. Imagine the traffic jams and the smog if these people also drove their cars everywhere.

Think you miss the point (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 months ago | (#46510051)

You built your cities so that biking, walking or taking the train isn't an option. That's that difference.

But read again what he is saying. That despite the fact that yes, european cities are often built to be more friendly to bikes/walking/mass transit, they still have a LOT of cars. So how much did it really help to design a city to facilitate this when they still have vast pollution issues from cars?

In a small counterpoint, I'm not sure Paris is really a city that embraces bikes to the same extent places like Amsterdam or Copenhagen do... and I think you are making an overly blanket statement about U.S. cities, I don't know if you know but there are quite a few large U.S. cities where you can get around very well via mass transit or bike. I found it nearly as easy to bike around San Francisco (even with the hills!) as in Amsterdam.

Re:Think you miss the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510163)

Lot of cars, maybe... lots of American's V6/V8 trucks... surely not!

Re:Think you miss the point (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 8 months ago | (#46510313)

I think it's cigarettes. The French do love their cigarettes. [bloomberg.com]

Re:Think you miss the point (5, Insightful)

Zibodiz (2160038) | about 8 months ago | (#46510213)

While I've admittedly never been to New York, all of my colleagues from NYC purchased cars after they moved away. The city streets are almost exclusively used by taxis and public transportation. Most people apparently use the subway to get around.
NYC is the largest city on our continent, and also one of the oldest. Infrastructure design isn't the reason for most Americans using cars. It's the fact that most of our cities have very separate housing and business districts, and there's no practical way to transport everyone 30+ miles each way every day to work, especially when the residential areas are evenly distributed in a circle around the business districts. If there were a functioning light rail/bus/subway system, it would take an additional hour or so of your day to use it, since there would have to be several interchanges to make it reasonable. NYC is the exception to this, since it was built before fast transportation existed, and hence the residential areas were mingled with the business districts.

Re:Think you miss the point (0)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#46510317)

all the europeans say that they all live in the cities and only the poor peons live in the burbs in europe

Re:Think you miss the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510243)

The pollution and grid lock would be even worse if more people were driving.
It's like saying that just because some people still die despite airbags, no car should have them.
Besides that there is the issue of parking to think about.
Can you even imagine how much parking space would be imagined if everyone had to drive a car here?
In the US there are huge parking lots,

Re:Think you miss the point (1)

mikael (484) | about 8 months ago | (#46510315)

In Napoleonic times, Paris widened the streets and created these wide boulevards in order to stop rioters from blocking off the streets whenever taxes went up. That also helped the flow off horse-drawn traffic in those days. But it also meant the republic could send down troops rapidly whenever there was trouble. Then the car came along to replace the horse-drawn carriages.

Re:Paris had cars? (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#46510147)

NYC has like 10 million people that take the train in daily
LA, Boston and others also have millions that take the train to work

a lot of the cities in the US have less than a million people which isn't enough to pay for a train system

and even with NYC traffic, there is no smog here. i remember when i grew up there was lots of smog. but with the new cars being clean and all you can look at manhattan and there is no more smog hanging over it. the sky over NYC is clearer than parts of colorado ive been to

Re:Paris had cars? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 8 months ago | (#46510275)

Ok LA just got their Trains back and didn't have subway system up until a few years ago. So. Cal. Did have the Pacific Electric Red Cars, the extensive street car system, until Firestone and GM conspired to get rid of it. [moderntransit.org] After being born and raised in So. Cal, the only way around was on the highways and that meant by cars or buses being stuck with all the other folks in the jam.

Re:Paris had cars? (0)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 8 months ago | (#46510295)

Houston has a few million people and is a poster child for broken mass transit. There is no way to get around without a car, and most of them are actually trucks with large engines. Yet, we don't have the pollution problem of Paris, LA, Mexico City, or Beijing. Is it possible that pollution is slightly more complex than "It's all those evil cars!"

Re:Paris had cars? (1)

cruff (171569) | about 8 months ago | (#46510297)

a lot of the cities in the US have less than a million people which isn't enough to pay for a train system

Some metro areas with more than a million in population are also finding it hard to afford to install rail. The Denver metro area, which is approaching 3 million, is one exampleis having trouble funding the light rail northern extensions towards Boulder and Longmont, which will have to make due with increased bus service. Of course, it doesn't help that the Regional Transportation District seems to think that everyone must only want to go into Denver and back...

Re:Paris had cars? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 8 months ago | (#46510291)

No we didn't, that would imply that there was actually some sort of planning going on. Here we have developers who buy a parcel of land and build whatever they want on it. It doesn't matter that they might throw up 1000 houses without any consideration of infrastructure or schools, they'll do it and it'll be up to the local governments to decide what should be done about infrastructure. Hence when some poor schmuck buys his dream home he suddenly realizes that there's no planning for transit and he has to sit on congested highways for hours just to get to/from work.

Re:Paris had cars? (1)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about 8 months ago | (#46510139)

Also those little boats with the guy pushing it with a big stick in Venice. I bet they use that all the time.

Re:Paris had cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510245)

Paris had cars?

Yes, Paris has cars. Lots of cars on big roads.

Paris is a vast concrete megalopolis made of giant block tower apartments and muslims. You can't imagine it without going there. There are old parts that aren't an Orwellian concrete hell, but you can't afford to live there.

Non-"low income" people that can afford it flee to smaller cities and villages. This flight began in the mid-2000s and is ongoing. This Hollande anti-car nonsense is just going to accelerate the process until Paris is the blight capital of Europe.

Re:Paris had cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510375)

Paris had cars?

Yes, Paris has cars. Lots of cars on big roads.

Paris is a vast concrete megalopolis made of giant block tower apartments and muslims. You can't imagine it without going there. There are old parts that aren't an Orwellian concrete hell, but you can't afford to live there.

Non-"low income" people that can afford it flee to smaller cities and villages. This flight began in the mid-2000s and is ongoing. This Hollande anti-car nonsense is just going to accelerate the process until Paris is the blight capital of Europe.

I wonder when we're getting around to blaming the Jews again.

Mexico City tried this... (3, Interesting)

Nexzus (673421) | about 8 months ago | (#46509775)

The found that people bought cheap older, less environment-friendly second vehicles so they could bypass the restrictions, making the problem worse.

Re:Mexico City tried this... (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 8 months ago | (#46509893)

There's a 100+ points inspection every two years for all cars older than 4 years, including smog. It's not free.
Then again, if you can somehow afford to park a second car inside Paris (or any major euro/asia town) just for the rare day when pollution is an issue, you probably don't care about the cost of owning said car...

Re:Mexico City tried this... (2)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#46510041)

A modern ULEV vehicle (which is most of the smaller imports available in America) has effectively no pollution, and certainly no particulate matter. The old joke was that driving a ULEV car through LA would actually clean the air (and that was likely true on a bad day).

Banning older vehicles solves a real problem. Imposing emissions standards on lawncare equipment solves a real problem. This is just feelgood nonsense.

Re:Mexico City tried this... (1, Interesting)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 8 months ago | (#46510197)

Imposing emissions standards on lawncare equipment solves a real problem.

Banning two stroke engines would do so much for our air quality. I have read that Briggs & Stratton have a lot of clout in Congress and have worked to shoot down multiple attempts at regulating small engines.

Re:Mexico City tried this... (2)

bob_super (3391281) | about 8 months ago | (#46510211)

The standards [wikipedia.org] keep getting better fast.

The old cars are weeded out by the other "safety" inspection points:
Broken light? fail!
Shoddy suspension? fail!
Leak on any fluid? fail!
You can fix it, until you realize that your old car is costing you two grand every other year, just to pass obscure inspection points. So you get a newer less polluting one, or take the Metro.
The cars and parts makers love it, except that people now only buy if they have to.

I don't understand how the US hasn't caught up with this yet. When you see the deathtraps on US roads, it would be easy to line up car maker pockets with "safety" maintenance requirements. To "protect the children" of course...

Re:Mexico City tried this... (1)

mikael (484) | about 8 months ago | (#46510335)

So then you just buy a new second-hand car that has just passed the inspection.

Re:Mexico City tried this... (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 8 months ago | (#46510347)

The standards [wikipedia.org] keep getting better fast.

The old cars are weeded out by the other "safety" inspection points: Broken light? fail! Shoddy suspension? fail! Leak on any fluid? fail! You can fix it, until you realize that your old car is costing you two grand every other year, just to pass obscure inspection points. So you get a newer less polluting one, or take the Metro. The cars and parts makers love it, except that people now only buy if they have to.

I don't understand how the US hasn't caught up with this yet. When you see the deathtraps on US roads, it would be easy to line up car maker pockets with "safety" maintenance requirements. To "protect the children" of course...

In Houston (and most medium to large cities in the US) we have similar standards and requirements. And in our house we have a 2007 Subaru, and a 1988 Toyota Pickup (Hi-Lux to the rest of the world) that we drive daily. Guess which one runs better, and costs less to maintain? Let me give you a hint... When it is time for a new car, the Subaru is going... And the "New" car may be more mature than you think.

Re:Mexico City tried this... (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46510255)

I take it you don't know how to beat a smog inspection? The easiest way is to make sure both cars are the same make/model and just switch the plates when it's time for the inspection. The more difficult ways involve you knowing how to turn a wrench (or at least know someone that does) but it's not really all that difficult. I think you'd be surprised just how easy it is.

Re:Mexico City tried this... (2)

mlts (1038732) | about 8 months ago | (#46509905)

If Paris only does this once or twice, it can work. However, if this is done often, then people will buy vehicles just to have both types of plates.

Another way that this can be handled is to have the digit on the license plate be different each time for a ban. So, some cars might differ with the last digit, but the second digit may be the same, which would accomplish the objective.

Not saying the objective is helpful, but Paris is different from Mexico City because they tend to have more modes of transportation (streetcar, train, tram, Puppeteer teleport pads) than in America [1], so someone might be inconvenienced, but it won't be a show-stopper.

[1]: America as in the continent, not the United States.

Re:Mexico City tried this... (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 8 months ago | (#46510057)

[1]: America as in the continent, not the United States.

America is a country. North America and South America are continents.

Re:Mexico City tried this... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46510185)

OED says: "America, the name of a land mass of the Western hemisphere, consisting of the two continents of North and South America, joined by the Isthmus of Panama".

Re:Mexico City tried this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510021)

I think it speaks volumes about the sorry state of Mexican government that they couldn't nip that loophole in the bud.

Re:Mexico City tried this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510099)

>The found that people bought cheap older, less environment-friendly second vehicles so they could bypass the restrictions, making the problem worse.

see this?

> There's a 100+ points inspection every two years for all cars older than 4 years, including smog. It's not free.

you're just being willfully ignorant at this point. stop.

Re:Mexico City tried this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510131)

How many people actually can afford a second vehicle? Some comments here and below make it sound like nearly everyone can, so there is zero impact, whereas if only 10% say could afford that such measures would still have a big impact. It seems easy enough to fix too by just making sure that every license plate assigned to the same person has the same last digit or such. And if you have multiple family members with their own cars... well that is going to happen in many cases anyway. Many such laws are not going to get around the fact people with money have more options, even if it amounts to hiring people to ride with them for carpooling.

Re:Mexico City tried this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510153)

Except that Paris does not have enough parking space for this. There is almost no free parking spot left. Metered parking is so expensive in the area that it was cheaper to pay fines than fees until last year (and guess what? they doubled the fines...).

Re:Mexico City tried this... (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 8 months ago | (#46510321)

Ask someone parking in a US metropolis what they think of an 11 Euros fine, and they'll point at the nearest car park, which asks for more than that, sometimes twice, for the first half hour...
They've got room to raise the tickets, the Provinciaux will be amused at the outrage.

Re:Mexico City tried this... (4, Informative)

peppepz (1311345) | about 8 months ago | (#46510219)

This measure is not experimental, it has been used in Europe since the 80s. People won't buy another car to bypass the restriction because owning a car is very expensive (insurance, taxes, ...) and if you can afford that then probably you could as well pay the fines for ignoring the law. Less environment-friendly vehicles often can't enter the city centres at all, because there it's common to put restriction on car access depending on their "euro rating [wikipedia.org] ".

Re:Mexico City tried this... (1)

sidnelson13 (1309391) | about 8 months ago | (#46510223)

It's about time they restrict (or at least make it more difficult) for people to have older cars instead of new. Like Japan [wikipedia.org] . The older the car gets, the more expensive it it to keep it with the regulations.

For example, the same thing should be applied to Brazil (where I live). Here, licensing and taxes for older cars are cheaper than newer ones, because it's based percentage of market value. And if the car reaches 20 years-old, it's not even taxed anymore. It's stupid, making it easy for some ignorant douche to keep a dangerous, slow, polluting piece of 80's crap on the street. It should be the other way around.

Carpooling (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46509785)

So what happens when it's my day to drive the carpool, and I need to go pick up everyone? I'm the only person in the car when I set out.

Re:Carpooling (-1)

Jamu (852752) | about 8 months ago | (#46509833)

Just don't go into Paris until you've picked your passengers up.

Re:Carpooling (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 8 months ago | (#46510027)

Time to buy a few RealDolls.

Re:Carpooling (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46510285)

Yeah,(almost) anyone already living inside the city has enough public transit at their disposal that carpooling isn't going to be the sensible solution to this requirement.

Totalitarian Agenda at its finest! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46509789)

Just because I want to drive a smoke and particulate belching internal combustion engined powered vehicle is no reason for me to have to consider the consequences of my actions!

If other people have lung cancer, they should sue me in court if they can prove it was my vehicle's exhaust that caused it!

Re:Totalitarian Agenda at its finest! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46509947)

Or just shoot you!

Hey, if you want to go libertarian, at least go all the way!

Re:Totalitarian Agenda at its finest! (0)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 8 months ago | (#46510079)

Many of the same people who call themselves libertarians also express the viewpoint that man's activities cannot possible influence our ecology.

Re:Totalitarian Agenda at its finest! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510337)

They have to deny that man's actions can influence the environment, much as they have to deny that deregulating the wireless spectrum would lead to it being unusable.

Negative externalities and natural monopolies are bullets to the head of libertarian 'thought' -- their only options are to deny that they exist or admit that their ideas are nonsense.

Paris wasn't built for cars (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46509793)

The traffic in Paris will collapse long before smog will become a problem on most days of the year. Like most old European cities, Paris just wasn't built for cars. A traffic jam of electric cars is not going to help.

Re:Paris wasn't built for cars (2)

bob_super (3391281) | about 8 months ago | (#46510029)

you can hear the symphony of horns a lot better with the pesky idling ICEs...

Re:Paris wasn't built for cars (1)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#46510169)

like a lot of old european cities paris has an old part that's a tourist trap and a new modern part where most of the work and living gets done

Re:Paris wasn't built for cars (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about 8 months ago | (#46510371)

Paris wasn't built for 12 millions inhabitants...

Solution: two license plates (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46509803)

This will unfairly effect those with one car, persons with two or more cars will be likely able to circumvent this.
Carpooling will only go so far as everyone will have to get out at the same place or risk the driver receiving a ticket.

Re:Solution: two license plates (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46509891)

This will unfairly effect those with one car, persons with two or more cars will be likely able to circumvent this.
Carpooling will only go so far as everyone will have to get out at the same place or risk the driver receiving a ticket.

Real Solution: Move out of ancient, crowded, poorly-maintained city.

Re:Solution: two license plates (1)

gadget junkie (618542) | about 8 months ago | (#46509961)

Actually, this has been tried in Italy, and it works at 50%

The 50% not working: reducing pollution. statistics in the city where I live showed that the reduction was way below targets. people organized, and most of the people commuting had already organized before, using trains, metro and the like (they were pissed at the limitation nonetheless)

The 50% working: the powers that be decided that it was a huge success, and that it was a matter of scale (i.e., too few days of alternate plates), and anyway it was a symbolic gesture. Even this way, the measure was scrapped here for good two years ago.

Misleading headline (3, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | about 8 months ago | (#46509805)

Not a new concept, still an interesting development.

But they didn't ban half of the cars, they banned half of the driving.

Diesel emissions justification (1)

richtopia (924742) | about 8 months ago | (#46509813)

For years now we have heard that the high diesel emissions requirements here in the states have been preventing the direct importing of the plentiful European diesel cars. I've heard that the diesel emissions are a large contributer to this smog, particularly NOx.

Does not change my opinion that we need more diesels on the road.

Re:Diesel emissions justification (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#46510227)

I've heard that the diesel emissions are a large contributer to this smog, particularly NOx.

You could have no diesels on the road and you'd still have just about as much smog. We discussed here on slashdot a little while ago about how the emissions tests were flawed in that they were poor at detecting PM2.5, the finest particles accounted for in such tests. These particles are the most harmful to health, because they are too small to be expelled from the lungs by cilia. You have to wait until they get mixed into some sputum and expelled from the lungs. They're also dandy for the formation of fog particles, or dare I say, smog particles?

Modern passenger diesels have significant emissions controls. The number one more offensive consumer of diesel is container ships. Some ports are actually instituting restrictions on permitted fuels, and vessels will either have to carry multiple fuels or they'll have to be towed into and out of port by a compliant vessel. I suppose we could do this for multi-tank diesel vehicles as well. I know I wouldn't want to be sitting where the tailpipe of my 7.3 liter F250 is when the truck takes off from a light, especially when it's filled with dino juice. But then, it gets almost double the towing mileage of the gasser...

Is not going to work! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46509821)

In Bogota, Colombia (almost 8 millions of inhabitants) this measure is called "Pico y Placa". The natural answer from the people was buy a second car, so they will have two or more cars, some with even license plate and some with odd license plate. As a result, the number of cars nearly doubles itself making worst the solution than the original problem.

Re:Is not going to work! (4, Interesting)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46509925)

Yeah. It only works in the short term. In the long term what can be done is the same thing they do in Singapore. They have a limited number of license plates for driving all week and those are auctioned. Weekend only license plates have no such restrictions.

They dump the auction profits into the public transportation system.

Re:Is not going to work! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46510309)

That almost sounds like cap-and-trade. Apparently such market-based solutions are too much for Americans these days, and they will call them communism.

Re:Is not going to work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510355)

Which just dumps all the pollution into Malaysia :)

Re:Is not going to work! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46509997)

But hey, it would solve the problem with the failing car industry, European countries have been trying for years to increase car sales, this could just be the solution!

Re:Is not going to work! (1)

Shados (741919) | about 8 months ago | (#46510301)

If you can afford the extra hundred thousand dollar(s) for the dedicated parking spot with your house in Paris, your taxes will cover any issues that come up from having a second car =P

(Disclaimer: I don't know if things work the same way on the other side of the ocean, but buying a second parking spot where I live would bring me down $100k)

NUMBER (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46509841)

*number of vehicles on the road!!

Meh (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 8 months ago | (#46509857)

Smog and levels of particulate matter in large cities are generally a lot lower compared to before the 60s, when a lot of people still heated their houses with coal fires. Smoke / Sulphur concentrations in London for example have dropped from around 350 mg / m^3 in 1950 to around 5mg / m^3 today, and levels are still dropping owing to better filters & cleaner cars. Particulate matter in the air hasn't increased; the maximum acceptable levels have been substantially lowered.

That's a good thing, By the way. Also, Paris seems to have lifted the driving ban for tomorrow, apparently smog is down to acceptable levels already.

environmental standards of 50 years ago (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 8 months ago | (#46510373)

Smog and levels of particulate matter in large cities are generally a lot lower compared to before the 60s, when a lot of people still heated their houses with coal fires.

Surprisingly, standards for environmental conditions have improved in the last 50 years, particularly given the voluminous amount of evidence on how pollution negatively impacts public health, infrastructure, and nature.

Opportunity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46509863)

Sounds like an opportunity for a new business... Instant Carpools... $25 per trip gets you a guy riding along with you who's not actually going anywhere.

The Big Ban (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 8 months ago | (#46509887)

The traditional internal combustion powered vehicle will be banned in all industrialized nations one way or another. In the US and Canada this will be difficult due to the great distances some must drive. But what use is a car or truck if it can only be run in rural areas? It is upon us and it must be done. That is why companies such as Tesla are so important are alternative vehicles such as bicycles. Those that think big oil can stop this had best think again.

Re:The Big Ban (1)

xfade551 (2627499) | about 8 months ago | (#46510253)

I hate to break it to you, but the vast majority of land use in the Americas is rural, or even wilderness. Then there's this wide spectrum of land use between urban and rural, frequently refered to as "suburbia" or "the suburbs", where public transportation is near non-existant and it may still be 5-15 miles (~8-24 km) to the nearest grocery store.

Yeah... but are they earning .5% profit a day? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46509907)

Seriously.

Exchange some cash/digital coins to BTC and head over to Scrypt.CC?ref=baagt :) Accounts are free so just come and watch if you like.

Can't wait to see them try banning cars like this in the states... *facepalm*

My 88 Honda CRX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46509917)

gets better mileage than my wife's 2013 Prius by 8 MPG.

But nobody can make a car like the CRX, Chevy Metro, or EG-chassis Civic ever again due to safety and emissions requirements.

The irony --

A co-worker just purchased a 2014 base-model Camaro. That thing weighs over 5000lbs. to my CRX's 1800 lbs and gets 27 MPG to my CRX's 57 MPG. That thing would fly past US Federal safety and emissions requirements while my CRX would be labeled a "gross polluter" or some such nonsense. There are 600lbs. of airbags alone in that Camaro, but I could drive a motorcycle and not have to worry about any of this?

I blow off the inspects and continue to drive with my Florida plates.

Does anyone see a problem with this system? I do.

Don't forget visibility (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 months ago | (#46510105)

But nobody can make a car like the CRX, Chevy Metro, or EG-chassis Civic ever again due to safety and emissions requirements.

Don't forget also that your CRX has vastly better visibility due to safety requirements making all new vehicles mandate A and C pillars that can hold up a small steam locomotive on the roof of your car.

My wife can hardly drive any vehicle newer than about five years old now because she can't see out of any of them while driving.

Re:My 88 Honda CRX (1)

glasshole (3569269) | about 8 months ago | (#46510145)

No Camaro is over 5000lbs, http://www.chevrolet.com/camar... [chevrolet.com] They're all under 4000 for 2014. Even the 500HP monster is finally under 4000 thanks to weight reductions. Don't get me wrong, still way too heavy for a 'sports' car but not 5000 lbs. While I don't disagree that the old CRX gets amazing fuel economy, they certainly do. Fuel economy isn't everything though. The CRX probably puts more pollutants into the air than the heavy Camaro. While that may not effect your pocketbook, it certainly matters to our breathing air if everyone takes the same approach.

Re:My 88 Honda CRX (1)

heezer7 (708308) | about 8 months ago | (#46510155)

2014 1LS Camaro Base Curb Weight 3719 lbs http://www.chevrolet.com/camar... [chevrolet.com] That's a lot of rounding up. Also MPG != emissions. Not saying a disagree on lighter cars being needed. Just use correct numbers.

sao paulo does it (1)

hagnat (752654) | about 8 months ago | (#46509929)

sao paulo has a similar scheme... but only limits 20% of the cars
since i don't own a car myself, i dont know the exact mechanics, but on mondays cars with plates ending with 1 or 2 are forbidden, on tuesdays are the ones with 3 or 4, and so on
people with more money bought a second car, as happened in mexico

Not so fast there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46509935)

Hybrids burn gas too and have a carbon footprint. They should be included. Unless it's purely electric it should be included.

Standard in São Paulo - Brazil, for years now (3, Insightful)

morcego (260031) | about 8 months ago | (#46509939)

São Paulo has had car circulation restrictions based on plate number for years now (more than a decade, too lazy to check exactly when). Mon-Fri, each day a couple different numbers aren't allowed on the streets.

The streets are still clogged, still polluted as hell. Government says it improved things. I can only imagine what it would be like without this restriction, then.

License Plate (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 8 months ago | (#46509969)

Were I a Parisian I would have a custom tag comprised of only letters, thus avoiding the even / odd rule. "SMOG" would be a fitting choice. (yeah yeah, I'm sure custom license plates are mainly an American thing)

Surprising (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 8 months ago | (#46509981)

Wow, that's quite radical. I love it! They are not just "founding a committee which might some day gather to speculate about reducing pollution" but instead applying real measures. I'm not sure if this license plate rule is the best way to do it, but it's relatively effective immediately.

Florance Italy Been Doing this Since mid 90's (1)

rabun_bike (905430) | about 8 months ago | (#46509993)

This isn't anything new except they now have to do it Paris. Florence (Firenze) Italy was doing this when I was there in 1997. It was pretty interesting because they even had high smog alerts (No Traffic Zones) that required people with certain license plates to actually pull off the road during high alerts on Sundays. This apparently has been expanded to other days of the week. Italy also banned many vehicles from inside the Florence. At the city gate you had to have a special sticker to get in with a car or moped. It was very difficult and expensive to get a sticker for a car.

http://www.expatsinitaly.com/n... [expatsinitaly.com]

Re:Florance Italy Been Doing this Since mid 90's (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 8 months ago | (#46510367)

Having driven in Florance (Firenza) was the fact that you couldn't find your way around! 10 minutes to get into the city center (to a parking lot) and 45 minutes to get back out. It's like a roach motel! At least the three times I've driven there it's always been crowded and sure the government cracks down on who's driving within the city but it's still an overcrowded mess with all the tourists. Yeah, me included in that.

This is normal-ish in Italy (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 8 months ago | (#46510009)

they've had alternate plates in Milan since the late 80s. This caused a spate of license plate theft.

Diesels are better? (1)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about 8 months ago | (#46510023)

Europe has far more diesels in passenger car use than is typical in the US, the particulate and Nitrogen Oxides are not nearly as much a problem for gasoline engines as diesel. While diesel gets (typically) better mileage, it comes with other costs.

Re:Diesels are better? (1)

unimacs (597299) | about 8 months ago | (#46510095)

Older diesel cars are a big part of the problem I guess. Newer ones not so much. There have been previous attempts to ban cars built before 1997 but apparently there was a huge backlash because the ban affected poor people more than the rich. This ban is seen as more fair.

Re:Diesels are better? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#46510173)

Europe has far more diesels in passenger car use than is typical in the US, the particulate and Nitrogen Oxides are not nearly as much a problem for gasoline engines as diesel.

Diesels with catalysts are just as clean as gassers. They produce more NOx but less of every other kind of emissions. We used to think that gassers didn't produce as much soot as diesels, but we found out that the test methodology was flawed and poor at detecting PM2.5s. So as it turns out, gassers produce just as much soot as diesels while making more CO and CO2 but less NOx. Further, diesel fuel is far more biodegradable than gasoline, and the consequences for a spill are less; it's also less volatile than gasoline, so less of it is lost to evaporation — to say nothing of the reduced fire and explosion danger.

While diesel gets (typically) better mileage, it comes with other costs.

Yeah, the engines are more expensive to produce, because a diesel without a turbo is a piece of shit that struggles to breathe and because they have expensive injection systems and high compression ratios. Except, whoops! The trend in gasoline engines today is direct injection, and they also have expensive injection systems. And it's also towards smaller engines with turbochargers, just like the diesels. Consequently, the cost disadvantage of diesels is disappearing.

Modern diesels are better than modern gassers in basically every way, except having to fill up a piss tank in addition to your fuel tank. It's a small price to pay for 10-25% more efficiency in typical vehicles.

My perception - (1)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | about 8 months ago | (#46510033)

My perception in having visited Paris, Barcelona, Milan, Grenoble, Firenze is that a fair amount of the road pollution comes not from cars but from Vespas and similar scooters and small-engine motorcycles. Lots of people living within these cities rely on such vehicles, and just judging from my nose, they are big contributors to smog. I realize that it's often the most economical means of getting around for students and other younger people. Also for cities that were laid out before the internal combustion engine was invented, the convenience of a Vespa is hard to overstate. But there seems to be not much interest in engineering them to be very clean.

Re:My perception - (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 8 months ago | (#46510195)

My perception in having visited Paris, Barcelona, Milan, Grenoble, Firenze is that a fair amount of the road pollution comes not from cars but from Vespas and similar scooters and small-engine motorcycles. Lots of people living within these cities rely on such vehicles, and just judging from my nose, they are big contributors to smog.

I'm not sure about this, but I think those vehicles burn oil by design [howstuffworks.com] as part of their operation. The lubricating oil is mixed with the gasoline before it enters the piston.

Cars (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 8 months ago | (#46510043)

Cars should have warning labels on them like cigarette packs.

Particularly, all white Fiat Unos (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 8 months ago | (#46510083)

Very dangerous around people fleeing paparazzi.

Delivery Vehicles? (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 8 months ago | (#46510107)

What about delivery vehicles? They normally have one driver so they don't get the three people exemption. Guess you won't be getting your food.

How does the carpooling thing work? (1)

Experiment 626 (698257) | about 8 months ago | (#46510151)

It's one thing to need 3+ people in a car to use the HOV lane, but how does this promote carpooling if you make ALL the roads in town illegal with 1-2 people in the car? The first guy can't go pick the other up, and at the end of the day if you're down to two passengers, you can't drop either of them off.

Re:How does the carpooling thing work? (1)

Shados (741919) | about 8 months ago | (#46510233)

The goal is to ban them, with some exceptions, not to allow them, with some exceptions.

If you have a big family, or if people can take the subway to your place and you're all going to the same mall, it works. Otherwise, tough.

OLD NEWS (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46510201)

This is already done in Mexico City. The net result has been to INCREASE pollution. While air quality in the city did not change at all, residents simply kept their old car when they bought another one. Now they had 2 cars and could drive every day of the week because they had different plates. As a result they kept older cars that might have been salvaged running longer, producing more pollutants over the long run and also forcing the poor that could only afford one car to be the only group in compliance with the spirit of the law. Car purchases in Mexico city sky rocketed while new car production remained stagnant, meaning people were buying older used cars. Basically this law caused Mexico city to suck in every 20 year old jalopy from every neighboring city and town just so residents could get to work on time.

There have been many studies done on this. Here's just the first that popped up in Google.
Citation:
http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~in... [rutgers.edu]

 

A better plan... (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 8 months ago | (#46510287)

...would be to internalize the full cost of burning fuel into the price of the fuel, then use that revenue to pay the external cost [wikipedia.org] of burning fuel. Then people would drive less and the people who get respiratory illnesses would have their health care and lost work days paid for. (In single-payer countries, the revenue to the government should be offset by lower tax rates.)

This is a better plan if you believe that a market-based solution to the economic problem [wikipedia.org] is better than rationing, and if you believe that markets are most efficient when their failures are corrected.

How can this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46510339)

Are people who live in paris exempt?
Or do they just get the day off on they day their car isn't allowed on the road?
What happens if you need to get somewhere in an emergency?
They should just make sections of the city car free. That makes much more sense and is enforceable.

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