The internal combustion engine is a marvel of technology, but it also contributes significantly to air pollution. There are more than 1.4 billion combustion engine vehicles on the planet. That’s a lot of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons being released into the atmosphere.

While we wait for the eventual arrival of electric cars, some areas have decided to solve the problem of air pollution related to internal combustion engines by banning these vehicles altogether. Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, has just announced prohibition of driving vehicles with diesel and gasoline engines in the entire city centeras reported by the portal Traffic lights.

The ban will come into effect in 2025. The new policy will continue to allow hybrid vans in the city center in addition to ambulances and police cars with internal combustion engines.

The ban does not apply to the entire capital. It only applies to the so-called center, i.e. an area comprising 20 blocks in the city center. The move was announced by Stockholm’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, Lars Stromgren, who said that current conditions represent a “completely unacceptable situation”and noted that the air in the city “causes lung disease in children and premature death in the elderly”.

Electric cars will of course be able to drive in the city center without restrictions. Stockholm joins other low-emission zones (LEZs) in cities across Europe with the new policy, among others in London, Madrid, Berlin and Paris, but at the same time it goes further with the new ban than other European cities. For example, London charges to pass through the low-emission zone for vehicles with internal combustion engines, while Paris, Athens and Madrid have banned the passage “only” for vehicles with diesel engines.

LEZs have a good track record of reducing air pollution-related health problems.

Opponents call Stockholm’s policy too extreme. The Swedish Association of Transport Companies said the city’s ruling political party was “in too much of a hurry” to further reduce combustion engine emissions.