‘SUVs are useless in Paris’ – Authorities impose higher parking fees to tackle ‘auto-besity’
Paris city hall is to charge SUV owners higher parking fees to reduce pollution in the capital. While details of the charges are yet to be announced, the final figures are expected to take the size, weight of the vehicle and its motor into consideration.
Electric vehicles and families large enough to need a bigger car will potentially be able to dodge the increased charges that will come into effect on January 1, 2024. The measure was unanimously approved by Paris councillors last month.
Measure Targets “Dangerous, Cumbersome” Vehicles
According to Frédéric Badina-Serpette, a councillor from the EELV ecology party that proposed the change, the aim was “to focus on an absurdity: auto-besity … the inexorable growth in the weight and size of vehicles circulating in our cities, and particularly in Paris”.
Officials say SUVs now make up 15% of the 1.15 million private vehicles parked every evening in the capital. Their number has increased by 60% over the last four years. With the change, officials hope to put a brake on the rise and encourage people to buy lighter vehicles instead.
SUVs are unsuitable in an urban environment, says David Belliard, a deputy mayor responsible for public space and mobility policy. He highlighted the absence of mountain roads and dirt paths in Paris, adding the vehicles are dangerous and use too many resources for production.
Is SUV Now A Symbol Of Battle Against Pollution?
Defending SUVs as family vehicles, Pierre Chasseray said their number had increased as larger families in Paris were purchasing them to replace their people carriers.
“We’re [catering] to a tiny minority … who have decided to make the SUV the symbol of the battle against pollution,” the spokesperson for the driver defence group 40 millions d’Automobilistes told Le Parisien.
Meanwhile, authorities in Lyon – around 465 km from the capital – will also be implementing higher parking charges based on vehicle weight from 2024. Grenoble could introduce a similar scheme too.