The emissions stickers show which cars are environmentally friendly. / sur

Three out of four cars will be affected by the new low emission zones in Spanish towns and cities

The new Climate Change law which comes into force in 2023 will mean there will be no-go areas for vehicles with high emissions

S.M. Madrid

From 2023, towns in Spain which have more than 50,000 inhabitants – and some with more than 20,000 – will need to designate a Low Emissions Zone to comply with the Climate Change law. This will apply to at least 149 towns and cities in the country.

However, three out of every four cars in those municipalities have combustion engines and no electric power at all, according to figures which have just been released to coincide with the first MOBS mobility event.

This situation raises the question of how this will affect cars with the new A, B and C emissions labels which drive in these towns and cities every day. The municipalities have a combined population of over 25 million, which is 53% of the official population of Spain.

Although we do not know the local regulations which will be put into effect in each municipality, it could mean that only one in four cars will be able to travel in certain areas. Different types of hybrids account for 18.4% of the vehicles in Spain, electric vehicles 3.9% and GLP/GNC powered vehicles just 2%.

Leasing suggestion

One suggestion to enable people to use the Low Emission Zones is to make it easier for them to lease hybrid or fully electric vehicles for long periods, which would reduce the age of vehicles on the roads and also the levels of emissions.

Currently, one in four new car registrations are leased vehicles, and it looks as if this will be the type of mobility which will grow most this year, at 17% higher than last year.

The councils will have the final say in how the legislation will be applied in their town or city, although they will all have to comply with the need to restrict access and parking to some types of vehicle, which will of course include those which use petrol or diesel.

If the levels of emissions are exceeded by the municipalities, legal action can be taken against the councils by the government.

Íñigo Breña, director de Rentingcoches.com, says leasing will play a vital role in consolidating the use of electric vehicles in Spain. However, as he points out, there needs to be an improvement to the infrastructure for this form of transport first, because few towns and cities currently have enough charging points.