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Spain: 150 new environmental zones

Spain is getting serious in the fight against combustion cars. A new law requires cities with over 50,000 inhabitants to introduce environmental zones. About 150 cities are affected. In addition, taxes on diesel and petrol vehicles and tolls on motorways are to make driving more difficult for Spaniards.

The Spanish government has passed three new laws: The "Climate Change Law", the new "Plan for Recovery, Transformation and Resilience" and the programme "Spain 2050: Foundations and Proposals for a Long-Term National Strategy" all deal, among other things, with traffic on Spanish roads and are intended to ensure climate- and environmentally-friendly mobility in the near future.

Their goal is to fundamentally change the Spanish vehicle fleet and to bring significantly more e-cars onto the roads. To achieve this, they are to be promoted and combustion engines are to be slowed down. From 2040, no new cars with combustion engines may be sold. From 2050 onwards, they will generally no longer be allowed on the roads. Taxes on fossil fuels are also to increase significantly in the coming years. Diesel and petrol are still comparatively cheap in Spain at the moment. In France, for example, diesel is about 30 cents more expensive than in Spain at 1.50 €. Registration and vehicle taxes are also to be raised for internal combustion vehicles and from 2024 there are to be toll systems on all motorways and federal roads.

And there will also be changes in the cities. Every city with more than 50,000 inhabitants will have to introduce an environmental zone. Madrid and Barcelona already had permanent environmental zones, but the Madrid Central zone was recently declared null and void by a court due to formal deficiencies. The Madrid 360 plan now aims to quickly introduce a new zone. In Barcelona, with 95 square kilometres one of the largest zones in Europe, cars and vans need at least Euro Standard 3 when filling up with petrol. Diesel vehicles of any kind must have at least Euro standard 4 to enter. Some other cities, such as Seville and Valencia, already have temporary environmental zones. It is not yet clear whether the new Spanish environmental zones will be based on these values, and when they will be introduced.

With the new laws on mobility on Spain's roads, the state is thus introducing changes on several levels at once. At the same time as the bans, however, it must now also create alternatives, as previously in Barcelona, so that citizens can support the change. There, for example, the authorities had distributed 3-year tickets for the use of public transport to all owners of vehicles that were too old, if they had their vehicles scrapped.

So the Spanish government is going full steam ahead against the internal combustion vehicles. A lot is in store for both Spaniards and travellers. But the measures will improve air quality and the climate, making the popular holiday destination even more attractive.

You can find all the new Spanish environmental zones in our Green-Zones app.