Skip to content
The Editors

Want to Reduce Emissions? Ban (Non-Electric) Cars.

As cities get increasingly crowded, they’ll need to get more ambitious about clean air.

Less gas, more fun.

Less gas, more fun.

Photographer: Chris Delmas/AFP

Most modern cities have measures to reduce congestion. But if their goal is to dramatically improve air quality and extend lives shortened by pollution, then tolls and parking meters simply aren’t enough. It’s worth asking what a more ambitious target would look like.

Amsterdam has made itself a test case, proposing an outright ban on gas and diesel vehicles by 2030. That may sound extreme, or at least like the kind of thing that should only be attempted by a smallish city with picturesque bridges and lots of cycling enthusiasts. But the Dutch capital isn’t alone; it joins Chengdu, Hamburg, Madrid, Oslo and other cities in moving toward at least partial car bans to reduce pollution.