Prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics there was some concern by athletes about the air quality in China’s capital, so officials there passed a series of temporary measures to improve the air, including restrictions on the types of vehicles allowed into the city. Those measures now appear to be a permanent legacy of the Olympic games, as Beijing has announced that starting in June only low-emissions “green label” vehicles will be allowed inside the 5th Ring Road of Beijing’s inner city.
All vehicles, depending on their emissions level, will recieve either a green label (low-emissions) or a yellow label (high emissions). Those without the yellow label are banned from entering the inner city, in an effort to curb the rampent air quality issues that plague China’s ancient capital. Combined with efforts to convert homes from coal to gas and to curb rampant pollution have resulted in an estimated 375 tons less emissions daily, about a 10% reduction.
For a city of 17 million people, this will almost certainly help reduce congestion as well as pollution, and surprisingly I find myself nodding my head in agreement with this plan. Why not? I can’t make much of a case for owning a car in the city at all, nevermind a big gas-guzzler that would be impossible to paralell park (I bet parking is a at a premium in Beijing too). I don’t see this kind of initiative working in a city like say, New York, but maybe a smaller port city like Portland, OR.