The use of Diesel based cars has recently been prohibited by the City Council of Oslo, the capitol of Norway. The ban is not permanent, it only effects municipal roads in the city, and not the national roads that run through Oslo.
It will be in effect for a duration of two days, and is being used as a means of knocking down air pollution. Violators will be fined about two hundred dollars, and will probably receive some dirty glances from the assuredly upstanding Norwegian police that write the ticket as well.
The measure is being met with public ire, and cries from the citizens of blatant hypocrisy on the part of the government. The owners of Diesel cars feel as though they are being punished, and have been given mixed messages by a government that can’t seem to make up its mind.
It was just a few short years ago that Diesel cars were being pushed on the residents of Norway as a green alternative to gasoline based cars. The then Prime Minister Himself, Jens Stoltenberg was pushing for the Norwegians to buy Diesel powered cars.
Now the owners of Diesel cars that thought that they were doing something good for the environment, are stuck with a car that they were able to purchase at a reduced tax rate, but are unable to use in Oslo.
For two days.
It is true that in some ways Diesel is better for the environment, as the emissions are less hazardous to human health, and less likely to enter the upper atmosphere.
However, due to the relatively large size of the particles that Diesel combustion produces, the exhaust it quite a problem in urban areas, especially in hot weather.
Norway has been a world leader in the adoption of 100% electric automobiles, and is by far the largest market for Tesla, on a per-capita basis.
In addition to that, Norwegians have bought more than 100,000 electric cars in total, and electric automobile sales comprised 28% of all Norwegian auto sales in the first seven months of 2016.
It is wonderful to see such a strong interest in emission free autos, but one wonders what the Norwegian government is doing to its credibility with such a radical change in its stance towards the use of cars that residents were encouraged to purchase.
If governments want to encourage green investment, it is important that the message is consistent, and they work in good faith.