DOE Criticizes Congestion Charge for Hybrids

There are 2,523 hybrid vehicles in Tehran.There are 2,523 hybrid vehicles in Tehran.

The Department of Environment has voiced dismay with a recent move by Tehran City Council to charge hybrid vehicles an emissions fee to enter restricted traffic zones, which includes Low Emission Zones and areas that operate under an odd/even traffic scheme.

Saeed Motessaddi, deputy for human environments at DOE, told Mehr News Agency on Thursday that the department “is worried” about the development because it dissuades people from purchasing low-emission vehicles.

“When a vehicle has a small environmental footprint, we need to encourage widespread use of it,” he said, adding that getting more people to buy electric and hybrid vehicles is integral to effectively addressing Tehran’s air pollution woes.

In January, the council approved a measure to increase congestion fees by 10% to 15% and introduced a 50% fee on hybrids, whereas last year hybrid vehicles incurred no congestion charges.

“We’re going to suggest to the High Traffic Council to scrap the fee,” Motessaddi said.

Depending on the type of permit, congestion fees vary from $5 to $11 for daily permits and cost around $35 for a weekly permit. Permits for hybrids are now half-price.

Hybrid vehicles in Iran are those which run on gasoline and concentrated natural gas. They are promoted by cleaner alternatives to gasoline-powered cars; however, a lot more needs to be done to persuade people to opt for the slightly more expensive hybrids instead of the relatively more affordable gasoline-powered vehicles.

There are 2,380 compressed natural gas stations in Iran, according to the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company, which means there is one station for every 33,235 people. In Tehran, with a population of over 12 million, there are only 51 CNG stations but only 16 sell fuels to non-taxis.

According to the most recent statistics dating back to January, there are 3,312 hybrid vehicles in Iran, about 2,523 of which are in Tehran alone.

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