Milan, Italy starts applying a pollution charge

Owning a polluting car has become expensive for drivers in Milan. With the new year, a new rule by Milan's City Council is charging cars a fee based on the EU's pollution levels. With this measure, the City Hall expects to drastically reduce the smog levels in the city center by almost a third which is a big deal, as Milan is considered one of Europe's 10 most polluted cities. The plan is expected to last for one year and won't affect mopeds, motorbikes, alternative fuel vehicles (LPG, CNG, hybrids or electrics), gasoline engines falling under Euro III or IV rules or diesels under Euro IV with a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter).

The scheme, called "Ecopass", is based on five levels depending on the vehicle engine. It will cost anywhere between two and 10 EUR to drive in the center, a designated area of about 8 km2 (3 sq mi), pictured above. Cameras at 43 electric gates will monitor traffic and violators will be hit with fines that start at 70 EUR. The City Hall expects to generate 24 million EUR revenue which will be used for buses, bicycle paths and green vehicles.

With this charge, Milan is joining cities such as London, Toronto, Singapore and Stockholm, which all have similar measures. Other places, such as Berlin, Cologne and Hannover, have decided to completely ban the most polluting cars.

[Source: Reuters and Ecomilano, h/t to Karl-Uwe for the tip]

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