A battle cry against SUV buyers?
SUVs, whose popularity with car buyers remains undiminished, cause higher emissions than other car types. In Switzerland, residents of the city of Lausanne are now gathering signatures in a petition aimed at banishing cars that weigh more than 1.5 tonnes from the city, and in Belgium the area around the capital city of Brussels wants to tax cars according to how much pollution they cause. Is this the end of the SUV era?
As antisocial as smoking
Because SUVs are so harmful to the environment, using them should be punished or at least made far more expensive, the Irish Examiner demands:
“The International Energy Agency has reported that accelerating demand for SUVs was the second-largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions from 2010 to 2018. ... No energy sector, except power, was responsible for a larger increase in carbon emissions, putting SUVs ahead of heavy industry (including iron, steel, cement, and aluminium), aviation, and shipping. Subsidised fuels may be a factor in this silly indulgence, but unthinking vanity is by far the greater influence. It may be time to regard unnecessary SUV ownership as antisocial as smoking and penalise accordingly.”
Turn mobility inside out
Finally people are taking a stand, historian Michel Porret writes in his blog with Le Temps, and calls for further political measures:
“The petition initiated in Lausanne gives the impression that a mood of civic urbanism is awakening. ... The urgent establishment of 'low emission hones' in cities implies zero tolerance for SUV. Otherwise politicians will soon have to defend themselves from accusations of failing to render assistance. ... When will neighbourhoods around schools be free of the mechanical horde? ... We must use the conflict over SUV's to quickly rethink the entire scope of urban mobility, notably by intensifying the public transport network with an even more attractive fare policy so as to dissuade people from driving down-town.”
A rethink has begun
Belgium and France are also starting to take action against polluting sports utility vehicles, Slate notes with relief:
“Brussels doesn't plan to tax only those cars that cause most pollution. At the same time, the region around the capital wants to strike a new balance in the use of public space. These re-baptised four-by-fours take up more space than normal cars and are more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists in the event of a collision. In France, thought is also being put into how to prevent drivers from succumbing to the temptation of a brand new SUV. A malus provision and taxing vehicles according to their weight are instruments that could influence the behaviour of those thinking about buying an SUV, as was the case for diesel cars a few years ago.”