London, Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton and Derby have been told to consider banning some vehicles from their city centres to tackle air pollution.
The areas were singled out in a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs consultation on air quality that will look at what action can be taken locally to reduce emissions and meet clean air targets.
As part of the consultation, councils are being asked to consider whether low emission buses, electric car charging points and cycling networks will help improve air quality.
A report from campaigning group Transport & Environment found nine out of ten new diesel cars broke new EU pollution limits when tested in real world conditions rather than on test tracks.
Councils in London have already said all but the cleanest diesel cars entering the capital's Ultra Low Emission Zone in 2020 will have to pay £12.50.