The City Of Milan’s Diesel Ban Will Start A Chain Reaction


Milan’s new diesel ban to cause a ripple effect

The city of Milan is getting set for a progressive ban on diesel cars, due to start as early as January 2019. The bold move was announced a few days ago by Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala at the annual Energy Festival in Rome. “It will be a delicate transition, but we think it’s time to do it”, said Sala.

*This article originally appeared on opportunity:energy. Author Carlo Ombello graciously shared it with InsideEVs.

While the announcement was unexpected – and very welcome by Greenpeace Italy representatives, who immediately expressed their praise and support – it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Political pressure on diesel cars has been mounting for some time, particularly following Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal.

Further, Milan has a history of strong environmental policies and has already been implementing increasingly strict anti-pollution measures on vehicle traffic for a number of years. Most notably, a “congestion charge” scheme very similar to the one implemented in London, called Area C, is already in place for the historical town center. The new scheme will, however, encompass a wider area, to include the whole of the city.

This project has a long history, a Low Emission Zone has been years in the making and will include a ring of 180 cameras positioned on all entrance routes along the city limits, to control access and automatically fine unauthorized vehicles. The ban will start on 21 January 2019, focusing first on older diesel cars complying with Euro 0, 1, 2 and 3 standards (any diesel car sold in Europe prior to 2006).

It will initially be enforced Monday to Friday during the daytime, to help citizens getting used to the new measures. Crucially, the ban will be enhanced within months to include Euro 4 cars by October next year. This second step will therefore only allow into town diesel cars sold since 2009.

At first sight, this might sound like a relatively mild policy. But what consequences can be expected from its enforcement in factual terms? According to the latest national statistics collected by Unrae (an Italian association of carmakers) and ACI (Italy’s Automobile Club), the average age of the car fleet in Italy is the highest of major European countries, at about 10.9 years, while the area around Milan features better figures as the average car is about 9 years old. Nationwide, Euro 0, 1, 2 and 3 cars account for 35.8% of the fleet, while Euro 4 ones alone include a further 30,6%. Euro 5 and Euro 6 cars (the latter being the current standard) make up the rest.

The announced diesel ban on Milan’s streets will, therefore, affect about a third of all diesel cars from January, and a staggering two thirds by October 2019, only sixteen months from now. Euro 5 cars (19.4% of current fleet) will be unaffected for the moment, but there is a date set for them too: 2024. Only six years away.

The news from Milan should not be underestimated. The implications of such an extensive ban on a popular choice of engine – 43% of Italy’s car fleet, with diesel sales enjoying an incredible 55% market share in recent years including 2017 – will be evident very soon. For starters, sales of new diesels in the Milan area (albeit of the Euro 6 kind, unaffected by the scheme) will undoubtedly take a hit as citizens will prefer to avoid the risk of future stranding of their car. In turn, cleaner vehicles sales will benefit from an equivalent boost in numbers as people are forced to shift away.

Further, the policy may prove to be of particular incentive towards pure electric models, which will be seen as the obvious choice for those who want to future-proof access to the city streets. Luckily, the timing is ripe as new affordable EVs are popping by the month (see Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, etc.) and momentum is due to grow fast into next year.

What about stranded diesels that won’t be authorized city access any longer? This enormous fleet could cause a second, even more powerful push to sales of cleaner cars as residents scramble to scrap their polluting Euro 0 to 4 diesels to a suitable choice, with hybrids and pure EVs sure winners. More powerful than any direct financial incentives to green cars (which Italy largely lacks, by the way), the ban and its timelines will do wonders to improve the outlook for low emission vehicles.

It’s still early days and we are only talking about one city. But Milan is Italy’s financial capital, highly influential to the nation’s economy and culture as well as an international trendsetter. We can rest assured that more cities and smaller towns in Italy will now up their game and follow Milan’s lead, perhaps starting with Rome, where mayor Virginia Raggi expressed similar intentions last February with a yet to be confirmed total diesel ban in the city center by 2024.

The brave message from Milan’s mayor on the transition to clean transport is a welcome milestone set to cause a ripple effect way beyond its city limits. It is bound to spread to the rest of Italy and probably abroad and accelerate the switch to electric cars.

Doubtful automakers are warned: Winter is coming.

Source: opportunity:energy

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33 Comments on "The City Of Milan’s Diesel Ban Will Start A Chain Reaction"

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This politic decissions, will be the norm for all the great cities (and not so big) in the next years in Europe.
Well, the problem for some countries like Italy or Spain, is the capacity for the people to change their old petrol car, often purchased with the green aura due its low CO2 emissinos, and often too, with some public subventions. How many people buyed a diesel car instead a petrol car because it was incentivated by politics?.

Europe goverments supported the diesel cars for years, people buyed diesel cars that accomplished all the norms and regulations, and now, the same politics say people that their diesel cars are dangerous and will be banned.

Well, I’m lucky because I haven’t a old diesel car, but a Euro 3 petrol car. And I live in a small city with less traffic pollution. But, If I think in those people that live in some cities… they buyed a legal diesel car years ago, even with public incentives, and now, they can be unemployed or not enough money for change the car. Or their old diesel car is ok and has no sense to change it…

It’s a big problem for much people.

Start with small zone’s so people naturally get the idea now that there’s no point in buying a new diesel vehicle then buy back and crush diesel’s vehicles over 10 years old every year or younger vehicles if the state can afford it but just get them off the road and make it very public.

Well, just don’t drive them in city center! Anyhow, any sensible person avoids drive in city center if there is a slight possibility.

For instance, Oxfod has lage parkings lots outside city center and free bus transport into the center itself.

Oxfod=Oxford; lage = large!

Europe has promoted diesel by word and deed for at least a generation, first because it was cheap, then because it was a cheap and easy way to reduce carbon dioxide. As ever, the politicians are responsible, but it is the (poorer) people who will suffer. Plus ça change…..

And there was an economic and strategic interest behind that too. The diesel cars, was a barrier for other competitors outside europe. American cars?. Japanese cars?. They hadn’t diesel technology, so they were in bad conditions to compite in Europe.
Obviously, USA or Japan have their own tricks to protect their industry, but I think this was a big motivaton in Europe, not only the CO2 emissions and other things.

It wouldn’t be the first time people were wrong. Your character is shown by what you do after to remedy your wrongs. They were obviously wrong to believe the car manufacturers and that diesel is cleaner and the cleanup will take decades but this is a right step in the right direction. A small step that is.

The problem is that they were wrong, they made mistakes, but the consecuences are for the people. The buyers don’t were wrong, and don’t made mistakes, so why they must to pay?.

Yes, I know that’s how the real world works, but I don’t like.


Why in the world should it be the responsibility of the government to clean up the mess created by the fraud committed by the auto manufacturers? And why should taxpayer money be used to buy out owners of dirty diesel cars?

Sue the auto makers and make them subsidize the replacements! They are the ones responsible; they should pay.

With the european laws, is not so easy. At least two courts one in Austria and another in Germany, recently failed against two dealers that must bring back the money with interests to two VW cars owners, after years of litigation. Is very, very difficult.

VW had paid near € in fees mainly to the german goverment, but nothing to owners. And VAG has no even noticed the dieselgate in the sales.

I must to say, that VW fixed thousands of cars, so this cars today haven’t the original problem, but in some countries like mine Spain, this is not mandatory, so there are a lot of cars with the cheating device.

There is no more abhorrent and blatantly elitist idea than banning things that normal people depend on. Those making these laws could go out tomorrow and buy any car they pleased. The average person, be they in Europe or America, or any developed nation, does not make enough money to just go out and buy a different car, especially not when the collateral they would have had in their current “banned” car is destroyed by bad politics.

This kind of ivory tower dictatorship is completely enraging. If they really cared about the people, they would work with the Italian government to ban the production of NEW diesels in Italy, and then let the problem solve itself over time without screwing over the average person with a diesel car. But they don’t care about the people they harm, they only care about being first in virtue signaling their green cred to the rest of their elite friends running other European cities.

“There is no more abhorrent and blatantly elitist idea than banning things that normal people depend on.”

I think you missed it. The ban isn’t on people driving their dirty diesel cars. The ban is only on driving them in the City of Milan.

Residents of the city who currently own dirty diesel cars could be given a hardship exemption, in the way the City of London has given a similar exemption to residents of its Low Emissions Zone. But if so, I hope that exemption comes with a fee; a fee that gets higher every year, to encourage them to switch to a cleaner car!

Absolutely. In all these city center schemes, full access, ease and convenience is never a problem for the wealthy. You can’t just ban the sale and manufacture of new diesels going forward, that would appear weak and wouldn’t make as good of a headline in the media. Furthermore, you would still have all the peasants running around the city center in their unsightly rattle traps! If you want to clean up the cities of Europe, you need to get rid of the undesirable people and push them back.

I guess folks in Europe are used to being dictated to and pushed around by the public policy de jour. I would think that if the government promoted diesel technology and got lots of people to buy it, then changed their minds and told everyone they can’t use this technology anymore and that they should just suck it up at the consumer’s expense, that there would be revolt. Not just some grumbling followed by compliance.

VW should be held to account for this mess, as it was they who installed defeat devices, designed by Bosch, into their diesels, and into many diesels in the VW group: Audi ,, Porsche , and others. Governments should be looked upon as incompetent in that they promoted a non solution where they simply excepted the pollution control findings of VW, which VW knew where faked, with the help of the defeat devices.
Certainly these governments where, and still are, too easy on VW and others caught up in the “Big Stink,” now including Mercedes, with a recall of 775k vehicles, though it seems that municipal governments are at least trying to do something about it by adopting an action plan such as the one above.
Yeah, diesel cars are dying, the quicker the better.

People should look upon diesels as vampires sucking their vitality slowly away, and you without a crucifix.
Don’t buy, get rid of the one you have. Don’t listen to VW desperate ubiquitous youtube ad, to purchase a fixed one.
You probably can get one for a song, but don’t, because it’s a dying swan singing it’s swan song.

Not to disagree with you at all, but VW was far from the only auto maker involved in the Dieselgate scandal. Other auto makers involved are Chrysler/Jeep, Nissan, Renault, and (as you mentioned in passing) Mercedes.

There are some different problems. One is the use of cheating devices with the intention of make fraude, like VW or even Mercedes Benz.

Other problem is the difference between real emissions and homollogated, playing with the norms, but not infringing them. That’s the case of other makers, as Renault. But, this is not a illegal act.

For example, Mercedes benz must to recall the C Class and Vito with the Renault 1.6 dci engine. But Renault don’t, and they use this engine in Megane, Scenic, Talisman, Espace, even Nissan in Qashqai and X-Trail. Why Renault don’t has problems?. Because Mercedes Benz modified one part of the software to adapt this engine to their requirments. And there he install a cheat device. So it’s not a Renault’s fault, but Mercedes.

The NEDC regulations for the emissions homollogation, were a big mistake too. It was good in the beggining, but in a few years it becomes in an unrealistic method unable to to what it must do, and the makers took it by the hand and created a lot of mechanisms, to elude it. Hybrids, start&stop systems, large gear ratios, optimized engines for a limited rpm range used in the tests, cheating devices, tyres specific for homologate not for sale….. The CO2 was the enemy, we were leaders in enviromental respect building more diesels, and promoting them. Buy a diesel, save the world. For example in Spain for years the cars with less CO2 emissions, were subventioned. With the last incentive plan in 2015 called PIVE 8 (Program of Incentives for Efficient Vehicles in spanish 8th edition), if you buyed a car under 120 gr/CO2 (mostly diesel cars) the goverment gave you 750 €. Only a few yeasr ago, the governs were helping people tu buy diesel cars. For years, and years. Suddenly, the dieselgate jump on our tv’s and radios, and we had a huge problem. But the way that European goverments did all of this, was the source for… Read more »

How wonderful to read this news!

I was disappointed to read that sales of “dirty diesel” cars in Europe had only declined ~20% following the “Dieselgate” scandal. Hopefully this ban will quickly be followed by others, which should cause sales of dirty diesel cars in Europe to drop to nearly nothing!

And how many people who will be replacing their dirty diesel cars will buy a plug-in EV? Hopefully, quite a few!

Up the EV revolution!

BRAVO!! This is a bigger problem in densely populated centers so it is incumbent upon them to take the lead in addressing this.

Rural denizens should be lauding this localized approach as They don’t consider it to be of equal import for them.

Hmmm. So does the ban affect vehicles other than personal cars? Compact vans, urban delivery vans, medium or long-distance trucks? Virtually 100% of all of those are diesels. While BEV versions of the compact vans (Kangoo ZE etc.) exist, not so yet for the other types.

Good point. Banning diesel trucks does not appear to be a realistic possibility at this time, nor for the near future.

Here’s hoping that Tesla succeeds with its Semi Truck, along with competitors offering similar vehicles. But even if they do, it’s going to be quite a few years until those are going to be able to replace most of the diesel trucks on the road, let alone all of them!

I think the ban affect only personal cars.

The Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach banned pre-2010 diesel trucks years ago, as the newer trucks with DPF and SCR are much cleaner. Pretty much the same thing going on in Milan, good for them.

But in Italy, about 20% of all the cars are diesel without DPF. And about 30%, without SCR. So, the problem is huge, because much people can’t buy a new car.

The whole marketing of “clean diesel” was sickening. Literary!

Nice to see the tide starting to turn.

Should be obvious to all that banning diesels won’t be the end of it. Eventually all ICE vehicles will be banished, first from city centers, then from everywhere else. Then after that they’ll start banning human drivers.

This sounds like a joke, but it isn’t. It’s the future arriving. In time people will be aghast that we ever allowed poison-spewing, unreliable human-driven vehicles into our cities.

Maybe in Europe it will, but here in America, no way. I don’t think people are going to bend over and take it so easy. If you want to make sure Trump gets re-elected and after that, somebody else that is like minded, then keep talking up how if the progressives get elected, they will ban the ICE and anything else potentially dangerous to human beings, or animals.

Oh for FSM’s sake, stop it with the gaslighting. Trump voters do what they do because hate and racism makes them feel better about themselves, not because of some stray comment on an EV forum.

ICE is on the way out everywhere. We won’t need to ban it here; once battery packs reach a certain price point, ICE will go the way of tube TVs and film cameras. There will always be a hobbyist gasmobile niche, but in time no one will tolerate smoke belching engines fouling our clean urban air.

And with that we will have lost our freedom to the state completely, left to do what the state orders us to do not to think for ourselves, not to be different. For what? A slight increase in safety, for that we surrender our freedom willingly? What a dark future that we bring unto ourselves

It wasn’t that long ago that it was oh so trendy for green minded, progressive people to buy old Mercedes diesels and then burn vegetable oil in them. Bio fuel was all the rage. What happened? Is the diesel engine really to blame?

They simply got too old. There are few of them left now. The new diesels operate at much higher injector pressures which don’t work as well with bio diesel.

The big problem with diesel is that it makes nox. If you optimize it for low nox then it makes more soot and co2. If you optimize it for low co2 then it makes more nox. This is evident in driving a reworked tdi. They are slower and use more fuel, but make less nox. It’s all a trade off. Now to meet the low nox standard the diesels don’t have a large increase in effiency making them similar to gas for co2.

The next place regulators will go after is when ice operate in open loop. In those conditions polution goes up a lot, but it’s currently allowed.

Does this diesel ban apply to commercial vehicles such as vans etc ?