Skip to main content

Amsterdam takes first step toward banning all gas and diesel vehicles

Countries around the world are continuing to present long-term plans to ban polluting vehicles, while cities, too, are pressing ahead with their own more immediate efforts to improve the local quality of the air.

Take Amsterdam. The Dutch city, popular with tourists from around the world, recently announced plans to ban all gas and diesel vehicles from its streets after 2030. The goal will be reached in a series of steps beginning next year when diesel cars built before 2005 will be prohibited from taking to the streets of the capital city. From 2022, public buses that belch out pollutants will be banned from entering the city center, and three years after that, gas and diesel mopeds will be banned, as will similarly powered pleasure boats that ply Amsterdam’s famous waterways.

While it’s true that many people use bicycles to get around the compact city, the roads — and waterways — are still filled with fume-spewing motors, leading to claims by local health officials that exposure to the dirty air has the potential to reduce residents’ life expectancy by more than a year.

In comments reported by Reuters, Sharon Dijksma, the city’s traffic councillor, said: “Pollution often is a silent killer and is one of the greatest health hazards in Amsterdam.”

The city said it wants to to replace all gas and diesel vehicles with emission-free, electric- or hydrogen-powered alternatives from 2030 under its Clean Air Action Plan.

But as the Guardian points out, such an ambition presents multiple challenges. First, as many as 23,000 charging stations will need to be installed by 2025 to give the project a realistic chance of succeeding. Amsterdam currently has only 3,000 charging points in place around the city.

And second, people will need to be able to afford the new, cleaner vehicles, a fact not lost on the Rai Association, a local automotive lobby group that says the new rules will leave some local residents “out in the cold” and make Amsterdam “a city of the rich.”

Amsterdam is the latest in a growing number of European cities to take action against fossil fuel vehicles. Paris, for example, enacted a law in 2016 that banned cars made before 1997 from entering the city during busy times of the day, while last year the Spanish capital, Madrid, created a low-emissions zone banning older gas and diesel cars.

National governments, too, have been announcing long-term goals to ban polluting vehicles in the years ahead, though environmental campaigners are pressing for such action to be taken more urgently.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Amazon takes another step toward being your home internet provider
Jeff Bezos Blue Origin

Amazon is moving forward with a plan to launch thousands of satellites into space in order to bring broadband internet service to nearly all of the United States.
Amazon subsidiary Kuiper Systems filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday to obtain permission to launch 3,236 broadband satellites into low-Earth orbit. The goal of the satellites would be to cover the majority of the United States with broadband, with the exception being Alaska due to the state’s high latitude, ArsTechnica reports.
We first learned of Amazon's Project Kuiper in April. At the time, an Amazon representative described the project as “a new initiative to launch a constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world. This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet. We look forward to partnering on this initiative with companies that share this common vision.”
The new filings suggest that beyond home and business internet service, the satellites could also potentially be used by mobile phone companies to provide better coverage in rural areas.
Amazon hasn’t provided a timeline for the launch of the service; however, the FCC will require at least half of the satellites to be deployed within six years of it authorizing them. The remaining half will need to be deployed within nine years unless Amazon obtains a waiver. The company could also opt to offer broadband through a third party rather than directly to consumers.
If approved, Amazon’s satellites will be deployed at three different altitudes, 784 satellites at a height of 367 miles, 1,296 more at 379 miles, and 1,156 at 391 miles from Earth’s surface.
Kuiper’s president, Rajeev Badyal, was previously fired from SpaceX after CEO Elon Musk was unhappy with his progress in creating a satellite-broadband program. SpaceX already has permission from the FCC to deploy 12,000 similar satellites as part of its Starlink satellite internet program and has already sent some into space.
The first batch of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites was launched in May. In late June, the company announced that 57 of the first 60 satellites were working as intended and were in communication with the company’s ground stations. SpaceX lost communication with the remaining three satellites at launch and hasn’t heard from them since.

Read more
Robo-taxis take another step toward commercial use in California
Two people exit a Waymo taxi.

Waymo now has permission to carry passengers in its self-driving vehicles on public roads in California.

The development takes Waymo another step closer to being able to accept paying passengers for rides in California in the same way that it has been doing with a limited robo-taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona.

Read more
Lilium Jet takes flight in first test for all-electric, five-seater aircraft
lilium jet electric aircraft takes flight

The Lilium Jet, an all-electric, five-seater aircraft, had a successful maiden flight, allowing German startup Lilium to take another step towards its goal of launching an on-demand air taxi service.

Two years ago, Lilium completed test flights on the world's first electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) jet. The two-seater prototype, which was controlled remotely by a pilot on the ground, performed a successful vertical takeoff and transition between hover mode and forward flight mode. The startup, which later that year received $90 million from venture capitalists, promised then that it would next work on a five-seater electric aircraft for taxi and ridesharing services.

Read more