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Reykjavik Residents Divided Over Ban On Diesel Cars

Reykjavik Residents Divided Over Ban On Diesel Cars

Alice Demurtas
Words by
Photos by
Michael Movchin/Wikimedia Commons
Timothée Lambrecq

Published April 12, 2018

According to a new survey published by Fréttablaðið, about 39% of people living in Reykjavík are in favour of a ban on diesel cars for the year 2030.

In comparison, only 44% of inhabitants would be opposed to such measures. Finally, 17% were neutral.

For the survey, Fréttablaðið called about 800 Reykjavik residents chosen from a random sample. 39% of people between 18 and 49, and a similar percentage of those older than 50, were pro-ban. In comparison, more than 45% of older respondents were against the diesel ban.

The survey comes only a couple of day after the government’s decision to impose a new carbon tax on fuel, which is bound to increase further by the year 2020. The measure aims to decrease Iceland’s CO2 emissions exponentially by encouraging Icelanders to find alternative means of transportation, including electric cars.

Although the tax has been criticised for potentially affecting lower income people the most, as they are less likely to be able to afford an electric car in the near future, it has also been praised as a necessary move for the protection of the environment.

As of now, the price of a Nissan Leaf in Iceland is around 3.6 million ISK, or about 36,000 USD, but the number of registered electric and semi-electric cars in the country amounted to 4,848 by the beginning of 2018. Only 4 years ago, the number was still below 100.

The ban on diesel cars could potentially become part of Iceland’s plan to employ renewable energy for about 40% of local transports. In the meantime, European countries are also moving towards more environmentally-friendly options.

German courts have recently ruled in favour of said bans, and countries like Britain and France are also on their way to ban diesel cars. Oslo plans to ban all cars from its city centre by 2019 and Madrid by 2020, while other cities are making it easier for people to choose greener options such as bikes and electric cars.

According to the chairman of the Department of Environment and Planning for the City of Reykjavík, it’s quite surprising to see how many people are actually in favour of the ban. “I think it’s probably because of the recent debate about traffic pollution,” he explained, adding that the government should also focus more on making electric cars more financially accessible.


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