Is zero odd or even? Delhi car restriction decision triggers questions

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 29, 2015 16:36 IST
After Delhi government announced that cars with odd and even number plates will be allowed to run on specific days, an intriguing question that came to fore was: “Is zero an odd number or even”. (HT File Photo)

Private vehicles will only be allowed on Delhi’s roads on alternate days from January 1 next year, as the world’s most polluted capital tries to clean up its polluted air.

Social media erupted with reactions as soon as the Delhi government decision was was announced. Twitter users came up with a number of questions and pointed flaws in the move.

One of the most intriguing questions was: “Is zero an odd number or even”.

Turns out Delhites aren’t the only ones who have faced this dilemma. When Paris implemented the odd-even car rationing in 1977, the police avoided fining drivers whose plates ended in 0, since they weren’t sure if zero was even or odd.

To avoid such confusion, the relevant legislation sometimes stipulates that zero is even; such laws have been passed in New South Wales and Maryland.

Half of the numbers in a given range end in 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 and the other half in 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, so it makes sense to include 0 with the other even numbers.

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