Paris has hiked parking charges on SUVs. Now cities like London are taking note

A view of the autos parked on the road in Paris, France on Nov. 22, 2023. 

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Parisians have voted to hike parking charges on massive SUVs — and it is not the one European metropolis to set its sights on heavier, extra polluting vehicles.

At a referendum in Paris final month, virtually 55% voted in favor of a particular parking charge for sports activities utility autos (SUVs) for non-residents. With a turnout charge of 5.7%, nonetheless, the ballot represented solely a small proportion of the capital’s electoral checklist.

The measure will see drivers pay as much as 18 euros ($19.54) an hour to park within the heart of Paris, and 12 euros an hour within the wider metropolis. The increased fees will apply to SUVs weighing greater than 1.6 metric tons which are hybrid or have a combustion engine, in addition to electrical SUVs weighing over 2 metric tons.

According to Jens Müller, deputy director and head of coverage and analysis on the Clean Cities marketing campaign group, “what happens in Paris usually doesn’t stay in Paris.”

He informed CNBC that there is a excessive probability of different cities following go well with, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo agrees, saying following the vote: “Parisians have made a clear choice … other cities will follow.”

SUV gross sales surge

It comes as SUV gross sales proceed to surge, with the International Energy Agency noting that “the shift towards heavier and less fuel-efficient conventional vehicles increases growth in both oil demand and CO2 emissions.” Global carbon emissions from the autos neared 1 billion tons in 2022, in keeping with the IEA.  

SUVs stay common due to their further seating, space for storing and better driver place. Meanwhile, Edmund King, president of the U.Okay.’s AA, informed the Times that there have been “valid safety reasons why cars have got bigger.”

“Vehicle safety has improved substantially and much is down to Euro NCAP, [a safety standard] which means modern vehicles have crumple zones, pedestrian protection and numerous airbags, which all add to size,” he mentioned.

However, knowledge signifies that many of those bigger vehicles are registered to properties in city areas — inflicting an issue in already-crowded cities. An evaluation of latest automotive registrations within the U.Okay. by the marketing campaign group Badvertising in 2021 confirmed that three-quarters of SUVs offered in 2019-20 had been registered to city addresses.

And cities in Europe are beginning to take notice.

The Paris vote adopted within the footsteps of fellow French metropolis Lyon, which has already introduced an analogous coverage. Its plans to introduce increased parking fees for heavier autos which is because of come into drive subsequent June.

French metropolis Grenoble, in the meantime, has already applied a increased environmental tariff in automotive parks for heavier autos, and a spokesperson from the mayor’s workplace in Bordeaux informed CNBC that the town and the mayor are “at the reflection stage on the subject of taxing SUVs.”

In Germany, the southern metropolis of Tübingen applied a six-fold enhance in the price of an annual resident parking permits to 180 euros for combustion-engine autos weighing over 1.8 metric tons. While the mayor of Hanover, Belit Onay, informed CNBC following the Paris vote that his metropolis would “also have to face the question of how we deal with vehicles that take up more space.” 

It’s a nod to the truth that air pollution is not the one potential challenge with SUVs, with area and security additionally of concern. Campaign group Transport & Environment — which runs the Clean Cities Campaign — has discovered that new vehicles in Europe are getting 1cm wider each two years on common. The group mentioned that enormous luxurious SUVs, with a width of round 200cm, now depart too little area for folks to get out and in of different autos in typical off-street parking areas.

Meanwhile, a research by the Vias Institute in Belgium, launched in August, discovered that the chance of deadly accidents will increase by 30% if a pedestrian or bicycle owner is hit by a automotive with a hood that’s 10cm increased than common.  

‘Watching with pleasure’

Prior to the Paris referendum, London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged that he can be keeping track of the effectiveness of the insurance policies. However, a spokesperson for Khan mentioned through e mail that the mayor doesn’t have the facility to introduce an SUV parking cost, nor does he have plans to take action. 

The strikes in continental Europe may very well be of specific curiosity to the U.Okay., with Transport & Environment noting that the nation taxes petrol SUVs at a a lot decrease charge than different nations in Europe. The marketing campaign group mentioned that this might make the U.Okay. a “tax haven” for these bigger, extra polluting vehicles.

It comes as U.Okay. gross sales of SUVs proceed to surge, up by greater than a fifth between 2022 and 2023, in keeping with analysis from T&E, with SUVs accounting for 60% of all new automotive registrations final 12 months. The group warned that this might “blow a hole” in U.Okay. carbon targets, given most are petrol and diesel, hybrids or plug-in hybrid autos.

Rezina Chowdhury, deputy chief for London’s Lambeth council, informed CNBC that she had been “watching with excitement, what happened in Paris.” 

She defined that London’s Lambeth Council had launched emissions-based charging final 12 months and that the following step would charges based mostly on measurement. “It just feels wrong that in a city, that you have these massive vehicles,” Chowdhury mentioned.