The forbidden city where diesel vehicles are banned

I came across this illustration named “the forbidden city” (figure 1) recently, which was an interesting allusion to Germany’s ruling to allow its cities to ban diesel vehicles, except for those that meet the Euro 6 emission standard, in restricted areas. The Euro 6 standard is an European emission standard that sets limits for exhaust emissions such as carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, etc, emitted by new vehicles manufactured in the European Union (EU).

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figure 1

The first European emission standard, Euro 1, was introduced in 1992, which was amended with stricter limits as time went by. The latest Euro 6 standard was adopted in 2014. The illustration tells the story of a forbidden city, where the blue vehicle, an Euro 6 automobile, is allowed in the city, and the red one, an Euro 5 vehicle, is banned. This points to Hamburg, the first German city that banned diesel vehicles that failed to meet the Euro 6 standard from entering some of its busy roads. More German cities will follow suit. Stuttgart will ban diesel vehicles of the Euro 4 or older standards from 2019. Frankfurt was obliged to implement the same ban on Euro 4 or older standards vehicles from February 2019, and a stricter ban on Euro 5 as well from September next year.

As more countries are on their ways to ban fossil fuel vehicles, more environmentally-friendly vehicles such as electric ones are the future. The road may be bumpier for some countries, but hopefully that leads to greener and more sustainable societies.


首個實施柴油汽車禁令的城市

最近看到以上名為「禁城」的報刊插圖(見圖一 figure 1),詼諧地報道了德國今年二月起允許各城市頒布柴油汽車禁令,除符合歐洲汽車廢氣排放標準(European emission standards)歐盟六期(Euro 6)的車輛外,德國城市可對不符合標準的柴油車實施限行。歐盟六期是由歐盟國家共同採納的歐洲汽車廢氣排放標準,限制了不同類型汽車的廢氣污染物排放,包括一氧化碳(CO)、碳氫化合物(HC)、氮氧化物(NOx)和懸浮粒子(PM)。

首個歐洲汽車廢氣排放標準為歐盟一期,於1992年推出,其後陸續加強收緊排放限值,最新的排放標準為歐盟六期,於2014年生效。插畫描述「禁城」禁止圖中紅色的汽車進城,因其為歐盟五期排放標準的車輛,而藍色汽車則為歐盟六期車輛,可在城內自由駕駛。插畫中的「禁城」就是漢堡,漢堡是德國首個對歐盟六期以外柴油車頒布限駛令的城市,嚴禁未達標的柴油車駛進部分繁忙道路,未來將有更多德國城市仿效。史特加(Stuttgart)將於2019年1月起對歐盟四期或以前排放標準的柴油車頒布禁令,而法蘭克福(Frankfurt)將於2019年2月緊隨其後,同年9月起更加禁歐盟五期車輛。

隨著越來越多國家制定禁止化石燃料汽車時間表,發展更環保的汽車如電動汽車是大勢所趨。這需要社會不同持份者的配合,雖然不易,但有助社會變得更環保和可持續發展。