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After London, Singapore, Toronto and various other major cities, Milan is the first metropolitan area in Italy to introduce a congestion charge for the city centre. The Ecopass scheme started on 2 January 2008

Milan has the third-highest number of cars per capita in Europe, and some 89,000 cars enter the city center every day. To reduce the air pollution in Milan, which is considered one of Europe’s 10 most polluted cities. Milan’s City Council is charging cars a fee based on the EU’s pollution levels. With this measure, the City Hall expects to drastically reduce the smog levels in the city center by almost a third which is a big deal. The plan is expected to last for one year and won’t affect mopeds, motorbikes, alternative fuel vehicles (LPG, CNG, hybrids or electrics), gasoline engines falling under Euro III or IV rules or diesels under Euro IV with a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter).

Letizia Moratti, the Mayor of Milan, who formulated the plan after taking office nearly two years ago, said that it was part of a wider project to reduce smog and increase the use of public transport. She forecast that the scheme would raise €24 million a year, two thirds of which would be ploughed back into public transport.