Here in the US, there are many laws regulating emissions from your vehicles in order to protect the environment. Most states require your car undergo some form of emissions test every time it goes in to your Fort Collins automotive shop for an inspection. Here in Colorado, it is indeed a requirement, and a trip to the DMV website shows you exactly what test you will need based on the county you live in and the model year of your vehicle.

The tests are very important. It’s not just to be sure your vehicle is up to par operationally, but more a protection in place for the air we breathe and the ecosystem of our beautiful state. I think we can all agree the less pollution we contribute to, the better. But what about other countries?

Problems in Paris

Paris, France, which has emissions levels which are two times higher than London, has been hard at work trying to change this. Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, wants to clear up the smog and has passed legislation banning diesel vehicles (any large trucks and buses built prior to September of 2001 and cars and small trucks pre-1997) starting in July of this year.

Of all of the traffic on Paris streets, 80 percent of them run on diesel due to low fuel prices, tax incentives, and the fact that they are highly efficient. But this efficiency comes with a cost – the pollution the cars cause are responsible for 42,000 deaths, according to Hidalgo. She wants to see more electric cars on city streets, and is promoting an expansion of associated charging networks to encourage this. She is also promoting ride shares.

More controversial are the future changes down the line – by 2020, the plan is to ban all cars registered prior to 2011 and motorcycles prior to 2015. This isn’t pleasing the people, with critics pointing out the biggest problem – an estimated three million cars will likely end up in the scrap yard. And what about those who can’t afford a new car? How are they to cope? Can you imagine being limited to the model year of import auto? Could you imagine the streets without classic cars?

The Smog Rolls In

March 23 marks the beginning of another type of ban, which was announced after last week’s air pollution level report – Paris officially had the worst air quality, even worse than Delhi, India and Peking, China. The government responded by banning all cars from Paris streets on the 23rd ending in an odd number. Emergency vehicles, electric cars, and taxis were exempt from the ban for obvious reasons, as will cars with three or more passengers.

It isn’t the first time this sort of ban has been enacted, either – there was another ban last year, also in March, and another in 1997. The mayor had requested this action be taken in order to improve the air quality. Environmental groups feel that this action is too little, too late. One such group, the French Association of Transport Users (FNAUT), feels government isn’t really treating the problem as seriously as they should. The organization has stated the city should be doing what London does and create a congestion charge.

Most agree that even though it’s long overdue, it’s definitely a good thing for Parisians. Anyone who was forced to work outside or those who commute on foot or by bicycle is thankful to breathe cleaner air, if only for the time being. The problem is going to get worse before it gets better.

Your local auto shop works hard to ensure your vehicle doesn’t make a huge impact on the environment. Do your part – when your exhaust system has a leak, bring it in right away to be fixed. The less we impact our environment, the longer we’ll be able to drive our cars without restriction. If you want to make sure that your car is running as smoothly as possible, bring it into our mechanic in Fort Collins Foreign Car Service for a look. You can trust the mechanics that work in our Fort Collins auto shop!

How would you feel if the government told you that you couldn’t drive your car into work or across town?