In an effort to combat pollution, Paris city officials have taken a significant stride by implementing increased parking fees specifically aimed at SUV owners. While the exact details of the fee structure have yet to be disclosed, factors such as the size, weight, and motor of the vehicle will be taken into consideration during the fee calculation process.

Effective from January 1, 2024, the heightened parking fees will predominantly target SUVs, while electric vehicles and larger cars commonly utilized by families are expected to be exempted from the increased charges. This measure gained unanimous approval from Paris councillors following a proposal put forth by the EELV ecology party, represented by Frédéric Badina-Serpette. Badina-Serpette emphasized the importance of revising the pricing strategy for paid parking to introduce a progressive system that considers the weight and size of vehicles.

The primary objective behind this initiative is to address the rising concern of “auto-besity,” which pertains to the continuous growth in the weight and size of vehicles occupying the city streets, particularly in Paris. Over the past four years, officials have witnessed a staggering 60% increase in the number of SUVs, which now constitute 15% of the 1.15 million private vehicles parked in the city on a nightly basis. By implementing higher parking fees, the aim is to discourage the proliferation of SUVs and encourage the adoption of lighter, more environmentally friendly vehicles.

The city council released an official statement announcing the implementation of the elevated parking fees, effective from January 1, 2024, for SUV owners in the French capital. David Belliard, the deputy mayor responsible for public space and mobility policy, expressed his belief that SUVs are ill-suited for urban environments. He argued that given the absence of off-road or mountainous terrain in Paris, SUVs not only serve no practical purpose but also pose safety risks, are cumbersome to navigate, and consume excessive resources during the manufacturing process.

On the other hand, Pierre Chasseray, a spokesperson for the driver defense group 40 millions d’Automobilistes, countered this move by highlighting that the surge in SUV ownership is largely driven by larger families opting for these vehicles as alternatives to people carriers. Chasseray argued that SUVs primarily serve as family vehicles used for weekend getaways or vacations. He criticized the decision, suggesting that it caters to a small fraction of the urban population that has singled out SUVs as symbolic targets in the fight against pollution.

Following the lead of Paris, authorities in Lyon have also revealed their plans to introduce higher parking charges based on vehicle weight, starting in the upcoming year. Additionally, Grenoble is expected to adopt a similar scheme in the near future, aligning with the efforts of these cities to address pollution and promote sustainable transportation options.