Oslo to hit drivers’ wallets to combat air pollution
The city council will quintuple road tolls on days with high levels of air pollution.
Already by this winter, Oslo City Council wants to increase road tolls to 160 kroner (€17.50, $20) on days with heavy air pollution.
“We hope it will not be necessary to introduce. But we cannot accept that people in our city should have to remain indoors because of air pollution,” city councillor Lan Marie Berg told NRK.
A study shows that increasing the tolls to such a high level will reduce car traffic in Oslo by 27 percent and thus cut nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions.
Last winter, there were four days with high air pollution in Oslo. On such days this winter, heavy vehicles will have to pay 480 kroner in tolls if the proposal is adopted in both Oslo and Akershus.
The Norwegian Automobile Federation (NAF) said that the city government should stop proposing emergency measures instead of implementing long-term solutions like commuter parking and shuttle buses to improve the air quality in the capital.
The city council announced plans in October to ban private cars from the downtown area by 2019 as part of a plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions by half.
Oslo is also due to get two new bicycle expressways in a move designed to have cycling account for between 10 and 20 percent of all daily trips in the nine largest cities. Currently, only Kristiansand comes close to that mark, with eight percent of daily commutes done on two wheels.