SUV parking fees triple in Paris: way to go?

Parking an SUV in Paris will be an expensive affair from the autumn onwards. In a referendum on Sunday, a majority (54.5 percent) of Parisians voted in favour of tripling parking fees for oversized cars, with six hours to cost 225 euros. Exceptions will apply for residents, tradespeople and care services. SUVs are controversial elsewhere in Europe too, as a look at the commentary sections shows.

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Libération (FR) /

Making small beautiful again

For Libération, the controversial referendum addresses a real concern:

“The decision to distinguish between cars on the basis of weight and size rather than by fuel type is relevant and necessary. ... The market share of 4x4s rose from 12 to 44 percent of new car sales between 2010 and 2022, according to registration data from the European Environment Agency. ... One may criticise the referendum organised by the Paris City Council, but the goal is just: to reduce the number of cars in the city and the amount of space each vehicle occupies on the road. For cars in the city, small must become beautiful again.”

Seznam Zprávy (CZ) /

Don't let envy and incompetence prevail

Seznam Zprávy criticises:

“The action in Paris backfired. SUV owners, most of them hard-working family men, have become defenceless victims of incompetent, envious and cowardly green preachers of automotive freedom. ... On the other hand, the SUV has become a symbol of the critical traffic situation in large cities. Originally, SUVs were intended for unpaved roads out in the countryside. Nowadays the 'city tanks' are taking up more and more space and tend to have higher fuel consumption, but are nevertheless becoming increasingly popular. In some countries, every second newly registered car falls into the SUV category.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Parity between town and countryside

Die Welt finds the higher parking fees justified:

“When all is said and done, many cars are unnecessary in cities. Public transport is well developed (not least in Paris), and SUVs take up a disproportionate amount of space and parking areas on the notoriously scarce road surfaces there. So all Paris has done is to establish a form of parity: just as city dwellers can't demand the same level of public transport services in the countryside without facing inconvenience or additional costs, non-Parisians can't insist on maintaining their car habits in the big city without additional inconvenience or costs.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Don't target individual groups

Proportionality is key, puts in Der Standard:

“Simply pointing the finger at SUV drivers is not enough. Climate policy can't be all about making individual sections of the population easy targets. We must all contribute to climate policy, proportionately and responsibly. But acting responsibly also means realising what you are doing when you buy an SUV. And this awareness inevitably increases when, as in Paris, you have to pay 225 euros for an afternoon of SUV parking.”

De Standaard (BE) /

Europe must get carmakers to scale down

The measures against SUVs complement other sensible steps, finds De Standaard:

“Several cities have invested in infrastructure in recent years to get polluting cars out of the city. These measures have been socially controversial: not everyone can afford a low-emissions car. But they have been effective: air quality has improved and, just as importantly, car manufacturers have invested in cleaner engines. The crackdown on SUVs is now hitting the wealthier car owners. The goal is the same. The impact of these cars on the environment is too big, especially now, when CO2 emissions need to drop. Europe can help to pressure manufacturers to reduce cars' size and weight.”