In Turkmenistan, a country wedged between Iran, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan, drivers don’t get to choose the color of their cars. Their president chooses for them.
After first implementing a stop on the importation of black cars into Turkmenistan in 2015. President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has now banned all-black cars throughout the country’s capital, Ashgabat, from January 2018 forward.
For the last few weeks, dark-colored vehicles have been seized by police because the country’s president considers white to be lucky. He is a known lover of white, living in a white palace and traveling in white limousines in line with his belief the color brings good fortune.
To retrieve their cars, the owners are reportedly required to sign a document agreeing to respray the paint in a lighter color.
This order from the federal government immediately increased the prices of the local auto body shops from about $500 for a full car respray to $1,000. And more, in a country with an average wage of less than $500 per month.
Previous unpopular car-related rules in Ashgabat include banning tinted windows in 2014 and restricting the engine size on imported cars in 2015. He also outlawed imports of coupes and personalized number plates.
He is also believed to have forced apartment buildings to remove their air conditioning units to guarantee the pure appearance of his shining white capital. The country also recently banned women from driving because they have been accused of causing most car accidents.
Berdymukhammedov also drives a green Bugatti Veyron and rules over one of the most oppressive regimes in the world. Even for people who don’t drive black cars.