One of Melbourne’s inner-city councils has voted to impose higher parking fees on large North American-style utes and SUVs, pushing back on the increasing size of vehicles in the city.

    Earlier this week, it was announced the Yarra City Council in Melbourne’s inner suburbs would debate a motion put forward by Greens councillor Sophie Wade about whether higher parking fees should be used to discourage large vehicles from driving around the region.

    Ms Wade cited Paris as an example of how parking fees are being used to discourage large vehicles in urban centres, as the French capital will slug certain cars with charges of $50 to $60 an hour from September.

    Last night, the council voted to “investigate ways to make travelling on Yarra’s streets more equitable”, which includes introducing proportional parking fees based on vehicle sizes, reports ABC News.

    The council is yet to announce how such a system will be imposed.

    Ms Wade previously claimed large vehicles – which she colloquially called “RAMs and ‘Defenders’” – emit “significantly higher greenhouse gas emissions”, “do more damage to our streets” and are “eight times more likely” to kill a child than a sedan or hatchback.

    Socialist Party councillor Stephen Jolly went one step further during last night’s council meeting, calling those who purchase certain large vehicles idiots.

    “If you live in Fitzroy with the tiny streets that exist … and you buy yourself a Hummer, you’re an absolute idiot and you need to be dealt with, with whatever way that council can deal with it,” Mr Jolly said, as reported by ABC News.

    For context, Hummer has not sold any new vehicles in Australia since 2009, though its H3 SUV is almost 60cm shorter than a new Ford Ranger Wildtrak, and less than 10cm wider and taller than the contemporary dual-cab ute.

    However, Mr Jolly also touched on concerns that imposing higher parking fees could negatively impact families who require large vehicles to carry multiple family members at a time, as well as those who work outside of the inner-city.

    “As a consequence, often for those two reasons, they have bigger cars,” he said, according to ABC News.

    “We need to ensure that our most vulnerable, disadvantaged residents are not disadvantaged by some action that we take here.”

    As previously reported, the circa-10,000 North American pickups from Ram, Chevrolet and Ford sold in Australia last year accounted for less than one per cent of the country’s new vehicle sales. 

    By contrast, SUVs were the most popular form of vehicle in last year’s new car sales race, accounting for 55.8 per cent of the market – taking seven of the top 10 placings – while utes made up 20 per cent of new vehicle sales, dominated by the Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux and Isuzu D-Max.

    Outside of the Yarra City Council, proposals to slug pickups and SUVs with higher parking fees have been heard in Victorian Parliament – put forward by Greens MP Dr Tim Read – while Randwick Greens Mayor Philipa Veitch has said she is open to all options to discourage these vehicles.

    What do you think about large vehicles being hit with higher parking prices? Let us know in the comments below.

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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