ROME – A study by Clean Cities, a European network committed to zero-emission urban mobility, has calculated the impact of car-free days on oil consumption. The result of the analysis, based on a sample of European cities, is surprising. Suffice it to say that every car-free day in our cities would save between 76,000 and 133,000 tons of oil equivalent (TOE), if it were established in all major European cities with over two hundred thousand inhabitants. A saving of 932,000 barrels of oil (therefore between 4 and 8% of the total average daily consumption in the EU and UK countries) calculated in the scenario of greater effectiveness of the provision. According to experts, “car-free days” are also a very useful tool for limiting air pollution, the cause of over 300,000 premature deaths in Europe every year, one sixth of which occurs in Italy. The first car-free day of the season took place in Brussels on Sunday 18 September, and data showed a reduction in nitrogen dioxide of more than 90% compared to an average midweek day. Clean Cities analysts believe that of all the conceivable measures to cut the number of cars on the road, car-free days are by far the most effective measure, even compared to an intensive use of smart working. Among other things, this type of initiative is favorably evaluated by European citizens, as evidenced by a survey carried out by Clean Cities among the inhabitants of Warsaw, Brussels, Barcelona, Paris and London.
As many as 62% of the citizens surveyed would approve the establishment of car-free days on a regular basis, especially during the energy crisis linked to the war in Ukraine. “The car-free days offer us a preview of how our cities could be if we gave more space to people and less to cars – underlined Claudio Magliulo, Italian manager of the Clean Cities campaign – In addition to being a useful tool to reduce our demand for oil, 95% of which we import at European level, car-free days are an opportunity to ask the question of how we must rethink our cities to make them livable places for all and at the forefront of the struggle for a stable climate “. It should also be noted that in view of the “World Car Free Day” the Cittadini per aria association has invited school managers from all over Italy to join the day with their own institute. A symbolic initiative, which many schools in Milan, Rome, Genoa and Turin have joined to underline the importance of the transition to a new non-polluting mobility model, to defend everyone’s health. “Car-free days are an effective first step to respond to the current energy crisis – added Anna Gerometta, president of Cittadini per aria – At the same time, however, governments and local authorities can and must work to offer a real alternative to travel by car, giving space and safety to those who want to travel by bicycle and on foot in the city, creating a more effective, frequent and widespread public transport system, shared mobility systems. A fundamental path not only for people’s health, but also to reach the zero emissions target set for 2050 ”.