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Why such fierceness around SUVs?

On February 4, Paris will hold a citizen consultation to increase parking fees for SUVs. But what is the reason for this persistent effort?

For years, French cities have been targeting large cars such as SUVs. This ideology has led to the Paris citizen consultation on February 4, aimed at imposing even higher parking fees for this category. But why this relentless focus on SUVs?

An important date for the Paris town hall

“More or fewer SUVs in Paris?” This is the question for the major citizen consultation in Paris on February 4. The residents of the capital are being asked to express their opinions on the future of SUVs. In the event of a victory for “fewer SUVs”, the Paris town hall plans to implement a specific price list for SUV parking. In practical terms, the hourly rate will be 18 euros for the central districts of Paris and 12 euros for the outer districts. This means that if you park a thermal vehicle weighing over 1.6 tons and you don’t live in Paris, you will need to pay 225 euros for 6 hours, compared to the current 75 euros. The only positive news is that parking should remain free on Sundays and during the night. This decision would primarily target SUVs, a category of vehicles that represents a significant portion of new car sales in France. Targeting SUVs in this manner ultimately aims to drastically reduce the number of cars on the roads.

A political or ecological goal?

Is this relentless focus on SUVs legitimate? What about its ecological impact? With SUVs, we have the right to heavier vehicles compared to certain categories, but not to the extent that opponents highlight. As a reminder, the Paris town hall has adopted the argument of WWF, explaining that an SUV is “200 kg heavier than a standard car, 25 cm longer, and 10 cm wider”. The reality is more nuanced, especially considering the practical aspect offered by an SUV in the passenger compartment. Another argument put forward by anti-SUV activists is that they are more dangerous and lead to more deaths on the roads. Currently in France, road safety does not categorize vehicles in its reports, so it’s impossible to know the precise proportions. Despite the nuance to be brought to the criticisms of SUVs, the International Energy Agency has stated that SUVs are the fifth largest source of CO2 emissions in the world, emitting 1 billion tons of greenhouse gases every year. According to the agency, cars take up too much space in cities and cause many conflicts with pedestrians or cyclists.

It remains to be seen if the citizens are truly fed up with SUVs. The answer will be revealed on February 4 with the major citizen consultation in the city of Paris

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