One Australian councillor wants to follow the lead of Paris by slugging utes, pickups and some of the country’s best-selling SUVs with higher parking rates in a bid to reduce the number of “truckzillas” in city centres.

    On Tuesday, March 12 the Yarra City Council in Melbourne’s inner suburbs will 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 city.

    In a post on Instagram, Ms Wade called for the council she is a part of to consider adopting the approach to large cars taken by Paris, which announced last month it would hit heavy vehicles with hefty parking fines to keep them out of the CBD.

    From September 1, 2024, SUV, petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid cars weighing more than 1600kg, and 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.

    Ms Wade called for these large vehicles – which she calls “RAMs and ‘Defenders’” – to be hit with the increased parking fees as they 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.

    While sales of North American pickups are booming in Australia – with more than 10,000 examples sold in 2023, a market record – they made up just 0.85 per cent of all new vehicle sales last year.

    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.

    Utes overall had a smaller share of the market with approximately 20 per cent of new vehicle sales, but the top three best-selling vehicles nonetheless were the Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux and Isuzu D-Max.

    The Ford Ranger’s best month came in December when 7767 examples were sold. By contrast, the Ram 1500 – which was the best seller in the full-sized pickup market – managed 5922 sales across the entirety of 2023.

    Ms Wade’s parking fee proposal was later raised by Greens MP Dr Tim Read in Victorian Parliament last week, calling for the State Government to consider reducing the number of so-called “truckzillas” on local roads.

    “Here in Melbourne, we’re seeing more and more Ford Raptor and Dodge Ram (sic) oversize utes bulging out of their parking spaces into adjoining roads and bike lanes, [and] struggling to negotiate roundabouts on smaller streets,” Dr Read said in a video later uploaded to Instagram.

    “Typically containing one occupant, they rarely seem to be full of essential cargo or tools. You can even see this ‘auto’-obesity affecting the SUVs in our parliamentary car park.

    “If SUVs were a country, they’d be the sixth-largest emitter on earth.”

    New South Wales Greens transport spokesperson and Legislative Council member Cate Faehrmann threw support behind her Victorian colleagues, telling The Sydney Morning Herald “the size of SUVs is getting ridiculous”.

    “Big SUVs are taking up a lot more road space, including when they’re parked, so if higher parking fees make a few drivers catch the train or ride their bike instead then bring it on,” she said.

    Randwick Greens Mayor Philipa Veitch also told The Sydney Morning Herald she was open to all options to discourage these vehicles, which she said “are clogging up our roads and are a menace for pedestrians and cyclists”.

    Though not addressing all of the Greens’s concerns, last year Standards Australia said it was seeking public comment on a draft proposal for standard off-street parking spaces to be increased by 200mm in length to 5.6 metres.

    There are no plans to expand the 2.4-metre width of a standard off-street parking space.

    This still wouldn’t be enough to house the circa six metre-long Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150.

    MORE: $60 an hour parking? Paris penalises SUVs, hybrids with huge fees
    MORE: Utes fail the real-world safety test
    MORE: The dangerous side effect of Australia’s ute obsession

    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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