Should All Non-Electric Vehicles be Banned from City Centres?

Should all non-electric vehicles be banned from city centres?
Should all non-electric vehicles be banned from city centres?

As the environmental argument in favour of electric vehicles continues to gain momentum, many people are now asking whether non-electric vehicles should be banned from city centres in favour of more eco-friendly electric cars, buses, etc. While this would be something of a controversial move by any local authority, it could pave the way to reducing air pollution in highly populated city centres and as a by product, it could also assist in improving electric car sales.

However, there is no doubt that this will be a subject that attracts the attention of both electric vehicle owners and gasoline/petrol powered motorists who will certainly have very different opinions.

Freedom of choice

One of the main problems with this kind of policy would be the fact many motorists would feel discriminated against and their freedom of choice impacted. The reality is that if governments believe that electric vehicles are more economical and more environmentally friendly than gasoline/petrol vehicles (and also cause less damage to the environment), then why allow gasoline/petrol vehicles in the first place?

Quote from ElectricForum.com : "There is a rumour that some governments and local authorities around the world are looking to introduce a ban on non-electric cars in city centres - how would this be received by the general public?"

In many ways this is akin to the smoking/no smoking policy many governments around the world introduced, with smokers arguing that if this pastime is bad for you, then ban cigarettes, if not, then leave freedom of choice alone.

Air pollution

One of the strongest arguments in favour of electric vehicle zones in city centres around the world is the fact that where we have densely populated and relatively built-up areas, such as city centres, the introduction of gasoline/petrol vehicles does have a negative impact upon the quality of the air.

Where we have many traditional vehicles operating in built up areas it does not allow emissions to disperse into the atmosphere, as they would in an open area, therefore the problem seems to linger for longer. From a health angle, over the last few years we have also seen a significant increase in asthmatic related conditions, which many experts believe is down to air quality especially in many of our city centres.

Kickstart electric car sales

It would be very dangerous for any local authority or indeed federal government to effectively ban non-electric vehicles from city centres for financial reasons alone. However, there is no getting away from the fact that using electric vehicles within relatively large city centres would still be within the scope of the average electric car journey capacity and therefore perhaps make them more appropriate for this particular environment?

The Chinese government has recently become very involved in the electric car industry and such is the dictatorship attitude in China that you would not be surprised to see legislation introduced to ban non-electric vehicles in some areas of China's larger cities. This may be some way off, but it is certainly something which you would not be surprised to see in the months and years ahead.

Recharging network

If the vast majority of electric car use was encouraged across city centres around the world then this would allow local authorities to very quickly introduce a network of recharging stations. Using central city recharging points the authorities could then expand this network outwards from city centres and eventually, by joining the dots of city centres around the country, create a more acceptable and more reliable electric car charging network.

The fact is that if commercial recharging station operators were to see concentrated interest and concentrated usage of inner-city charging stations, this would encourage them to invest more heavily in the future. In many cases this would be a win-win situation, but will local governments and federal governments around the world be brave enough?

Conclusion

The fact that governments around the world have made literally billions of dollars from gasoline/petrol vehicles in years gone by, via an array of taxes, does not go unnoticed by more traditional motorists. Many would be very upset at the introduction of electric car zones in cities around the world, which would effectively boil down to discrimination against those driving gasoline/petrol vehicles.

However, as governments around the world continue their attempts to increase electric car sales you would not be surprised to see such regulations discussed and eventually introduced. Such a move would improve air quality in city centres, reduce congestion and ultimately, whether this was a by product or not, it would encourage more motorists to look towards electric vehicles and ultimately lead to increased sales.

Will any government be brave enough to take on this particular challenge? Or would the backlash from traditional motorists be too much? At the end of the day, people mean votes and politicians will always go where the next vote is coming from.