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Athens: Green Light for Low-Emisions Cars in City Centre as of Sept 3/2012

I think that’s the only measure I agree with: only eco-friendly, low-emisions cars will be allowed to drive through downtown Athens at any day of the week. The measure comes into effect, today, September 3rd 2012, in an effort to have residents of the Greek capital and the broader Attica area to take a breath in the hot summer days. Days, when a yellow-grey cloud, the smog, is plagueing young and old, especially those with health problems or respiratory allergies.

You’re entering a penalty-loaded zone

According to the new regulation, Greek Ministry of Environment considers as eco-friendly cars,

  • vehicles with a rating of Euro 5 emissions standards.
  • vehicles with Euro 4 standard with weight less than 2.2. tons and emissions of less than 140g/km of Carbon Dioxide and hybrid cars will also be allowed to drive into or through the city centre at all times.. 

Other Cars

Owner of less eco-friendly or older cars will have to comply with the old traffic regulation of so-called “Athens Green Ring” or “Athens Ring” that allows cars to enter the city centre only on alternate days and depending on whether the last figure on the licence plate number is even or odd. Odd plates drive on odd dates and even plates on even dates.

Green Ring restrictions apply Monday to Thursday from 7 am to 8 pm and Friday from 7 am to 3 pm.

Those entering the “green ring” without a special permission will be fined with 200 euro.

Traffic police went on a penalties-safari today and had the chance to distribute quite some 200-euro penalties today, as quite some drivers ‘forgot’ that the “Green Ring” was introduced again on Monday. Green Ring restrictions are traditionally lifted during the summer months of July and August.

As we are in Greece, and laws apply before everything is settled, or nothing is settled before a law applies:

“Drivers of the eco-friendly vehicles can purchase a green sticker starting in October, in order to identify their cars as environmentally-friendly and avoid traffic police checks.”

Owners of vehicles who had a special permission to enter the city centre issued in autumn 2011, will be further allowed to enter downtown Athens until the Traffic Police will call them to renew the permission.

PS Normally Traffic Police allows a short period of “mercy” to ring breakers, but this year, the state is in dire need of money, therefore there was no mercy and fines were generously given to all drivers with a weak memory.


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