The Albanian government has adopted a decision banning imports of cars older than 10 years and not meeting the Euro 5 emission standard as of January 1, 2019, in an effort to reduce air pollution, the Albanian media reported.
Under the government’s decision, cars produced more than 10 years ago and imported into Albania by December 31, 2018 will have to be registered by March 31, 2019, Top Channel reported.
Car emissions are among the leading contributors to the high levels of air pollution in Albania, where the average age of the car fleet is 20 years, twice the EU average, Tirana Times wrote earlier.
Albania has been phasing in EU norms on car emissions since late 2016, in what resulted in a high number of cars having new catalytic converters installed to meet emission standards. However, only 3.3% of vehicles in the country, some 14,000, are estimated to meet Euro 5 and 6 emission standards.
Albania has some of Europe’s worst air pollution, which caused around 2,100 premature deaths in 2016, according to an air quality report by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
The capital Tirana is said to have the country’s worst air quality due to traffic, construction, and a high population density, while the southeastern city of Korca, the coldest large city in Albania, sees air pollution worsening in winter months due to the use of coal and wood for heating, Tirana Times wrote, citing Albania’s National Environment Agency.
Albania had some 535,570 vehicles in 2017, only 421,570 of which underwent the compulsory technical control, according to the country’s Institute of Transportation.
Used German diesel cars flood Eastern Europe
Ever since the Volkswagen emissions scandal that began in September 2015 and announcements of bans on polluting diesel-powered cars in Germany, countries in Eastern Europe have been flooded by imported used automobiles with low emission standards.
The markets in question include Albania and Serbia, but also certain EU member states such as Romania and Slovakia, according to reports.