In Madrid, A Plan To Fight Pollution By Shifting Away From Diesel-Run Cars

Half of all cars in Europe run on diesel, compared to 3 percent in the U.S. But Madrid has vowed to ban diesel vehicles by 2025, to cut air pollution. Paris and Athens have made similar pledges.
Unsold cars, used and new, are unloaded from tractor-trailers into a parking lot south of Madrid. It's one of the biggest sales areas for used cars and scrap metal near the Spanish capital. Vendors say they're anticipating difficulty selling diesel cars, now that Madrid and other European capitals have announced plans to ban them. Source: Lauren Frayer for NPR

Every rush hour, bumper-to-bumper traffic belches out diesel fumes along Madrid's Gran Via, a six-lane artery that bisects the Spanish capital. Art Deco facades line the grand boulevard.

But they're blackened with soot.

"The pollution hurts my eyes, and I can feel it in my throat," says commuter María Villallega, 48, who lives in the city center and walks to work. "I don't own a car myself, and I'll be happy when they're not allowed here anymore. We need to protect the planet, and ourselves."


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