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Earth Transportation

Paris Bans Half of All Cars On the Road 405

Posted by samzenpus
from the to-drive-or-not-to-drive dept.
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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Paris Bans Half of All Cars On the Road

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  • by Icculus (33027) on Monday March 17, 2014 @04:02PM (#46509763)
    Time for an extra set of plates...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tommyatomic (924744)

      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.

    • And what will the rental car companies do?
    • Re:purchase time (Score:5, Informative)

      by timeOday (582209) on Monday March 17, 2014 @05:43PM (#46510955)
      No, because it's a ONE DAY BAN, and the first one since 1997. Even-numbered plates today, odd tomorrow. It's a specific measure for specific atmospheric conditions that made things smoggy in Paris at the moment.

      99% of the responses below (and above) are irrelevant because they ignore that very simple fact.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        No, because it's a ONE DAY BAN, and the first one since 1997. Even-numbered plates today, odd tomorrow. It's a specific measure for specific atmospheric conditions that made things smoggy in Paris at the moment.

        99% of the responses below (and above) are irrelevant because they ignore that very simple fact.

        Welcome to /.

        If jumping to conclusions was an Olympic event, all the gold medallists would be here.

  • by Nexzus (673421) on Monday March 17, 2014 @04:03PM (#46509775)

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

    • 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...

      • by lgw (121541)

        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: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Ralph Wiggam (22354)

          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.

          • They've failed. 2 stroke engines have a maximum allowed displacement which is progressing steadily down. Down to weedeaters today.

            They will get my 2 stoke Toro lawnmower when they pull it from my cold dead fingers. Yamaha motor, it will likely outlive me.

            Also note: Briggs & Stratton might once have had a lot of clout. Before they moved production to China. Today, not so much.

        • 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. W

          • by mikael (484)

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

          • 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.

    • by mlts (1038732)

      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 transport

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

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

        • 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".
      • by AK Marc (707885)

        America as in the continent, not the United States.

        "The Americas" is the term you are looking for.

    • by peppepz (1311345) on Monday March 17, 2014 @04:36PM (#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]".
  • Carpooling (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2014 @04:03PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2014 @04:04PM (#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.

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

    • by alen (225700)

      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

    • by x0ra (1249540)
      Paris wasn't built for 12 millions inhabitants...
  • by flaming error (1041742) on Monday March 17, 2014 @04:05PM (#46509805) Journal

    Not a new concept, still an interesting development.

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2014 @04:06PM (#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.

    • by cheesybagel (670288) on Monday March 17, 2014 @04:14PM (#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.

      • 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.

      • by mjwx (966435) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:47PM (#46512371)

        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.

        Singapore is a small, very connected city with a very good public transport system and extremely well regulated taxi system (which makes them incredibly cheap, I've never paid over SG$30 for a cab from any two points in SIN), in fact Singapore taxi's are so well regulated your average libertarian would die of fright (especially considering how cheap they are).

        So limiting the number of cars works well in a place like Singapore, but it wouldn't work in many other cities including Paris

    • 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!

    • by Shados (741919)

      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)

  • 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 t
    • 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.

  • by morcego (260031) on Monday March 17, 2014 @04:15PM (#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.

  • 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)

    • by godrik (1287354)

      they are. You can't get a custom plates in France I think. (Thought, you might be able to get plates from an other european country which might help you here)

  • 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.
  • 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
    • by Virtucon (127420)

      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.

  • 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.
    • by unimacs (597299)
      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.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      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 tha

  • 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 combusti

    • by Krishnoid (984597)

      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.

      • Scooters and small motorcycles have been moving to 4-strokes for while now. There used to be pre-mix stations for 2-stroke mopeds when I was a kid, i can't say I have seen one in the last two decades.
        People don't like having to mix their oil, the remaining two-strokes are a dying breed.

    • by mikael (484)

      I've seen that too - you should have seen traffic at the freeway between Singapore and Malaysia - on each side there's a toll booth with one side for mopeds and motorbikes, and another side for cars. Since all the cars had catalytic converters, the air was clean. On the side with the mopeds, a thick bluish-gray smog obscured visibilty for hundreds of meters.

  • by JustOK (667959)
    Cars should have warning labels on them like cigarette packs.
  • Very dangerous around people fleeing paparazzi.
  • 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.

  • 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.
    • by Shados (741919)

      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.

    • by godrik (1287354)

      Most people that drive in paris do not live in paris. They typically live in the suburbs (which are different towns) and drive to paris.

  • OLD NEWS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday March 17, 2014 @04:34PM (#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]

     

  • ...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 t

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