It’s about to get very, very pricey to park certain cars in Paris.
From September 1, 2024, SUV, petrol and plug-in hybrid owners with cars weighing more than 1600kg, and owners of electric cars weighing more than 2000kg travelling into Paris will be charged up to €37.50 per hour (~$60) to park in the city centre, and up to €30 (~$50) per hour in the rest of the city.
The city council (La Ville de Paris) says the huge prices are designed to discourage SUV owners from driving into the city centre, in a bid to reduce pedestrian fatalities and pollution.
“SUVs are 20 per cent more polluting than average cars according to the World Wide Fund of Nature (WWF),” said Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
“Reducing the number of large vehicles is also making our streets safer for our elderly, children and people with reduced mobility.
“A pedestrian has twice as much risk of being killed in a collision with an SUV than a standard vehicle.”
Exceptions to the increase in parking fees are in place for residents of Paris, professionals, disabled people, taxis, and emergency service vehicles.
According to La Ville de Paris, the new fees for SUVs vary based on how long you’re in town. Drivers of the heaviest vehicles looking to stay an hour will only be charged €18 (~$30), while those staying longer are hit with progressively higher hourly charges up to six hours.
The sky-high charges apply within from the first to the 11th arrondissement in Paris; those in the 12th to 20th arrondissement face charges of between €12 (~$20) and €30 (~$50) per hour depending on how long they stay.
La Ville de Paris claims several issues relating to “security, sharing of public space and pollution” with SUVs were the main reasons for vote.
This change will affect “visitors owning an SUV exceeding the regulatory weight”, a hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle that weighs more than 1.6 tonnes, or electric vehicles weighing over 2.0 tonnes. It’s not clear how the fees will be enforced.
40 per cent of new car sales in France are SUVs, according to La Ville de Paris.
According to The Washington Post, spokesperson for 40 Million Motorists Pierre Chasserary claimed “penalising the SUV based on weight criteria means penalising families”.
“The French SUV is not an American Hummer.”
A report by the European Federation for Transport and Environment (EFTE) claims cars are getting wider and taller every year.
It quotes crash data showing an increase of 10cm to a vehicle’s bonnet height can carry a 30 per cent greater risk of fatalities in collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.
According to the Paris city council, out of 1.3 million registered voters, only 78,121 Parisians (5.7 per cent) took to the tolling booths to cast a vote on the matter.