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For or against SUVs in Paris? Six questions to understand everything about “citizen voting”

More than seven months after the withdrawal of 15,000 electric scooters, Paris City Hall is once again attacking transport deemed inconvenient for the capital's residents.

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For or against SUVs in Paris? Six questions to understand everything about “citizen voting”

More than seven months after the withdrawal of 15,000 electric scooters, Paris City Hall is once again attacking transport deemed inconvenient for the capital's residents. This Sunday, February 4, it is launching a citizen vote proposing a tripling of parking rates for tall and heavy cars called SUVs. Le Figaro explains all the issues of the consultation in six questions.

Also readAre cars really getting bigger and bigger?

“For or against the creation of a specific rate for the parking of heavy, bulky, polluting individual cars?” This is the question that Parisians will have to answer on Sunday. If the “for” side wins, visitors whose thermal or plug-in hybrid vehicle exceeds 1.6 tonnes, or two tonnes for an electric vehicle, will see the hourly rate increase from 6 euros to 18 euros per hour for the central districts. (1st to 11th arrondissements), and from 4 to 12 euros for the outer districts (12th to 20th).

On the other hand, locals would not be affected by this increase: the elected officials at the head of the City of Paris have announced that they will make an exception for its residents. Only visitors from the suburbs, or from the rest of France, will be affected. Will also not be affected by the possible increase: “Paris residents and sedentary professionals parked in their authorized parking zone, taxi drivers in dedicated stations, craftsmen, health professionals and eligible for the professional rate, as well as PRMs and holders of an Inclusion - parking mobility card.

“The bigger it is, the more it pollutes”, justified Anne Hidalgo, the PS councilor, at the beginning of December, also putting forward an argument of “road safety”: accidents involving an SUV being “twice as fatal for pedestrians as with a standard car,” according to her. The mayor also highlighted “better sharing of public space”, with large cars being singled out as taking up more space on the road while cars have gained on average around 250 kg since 1990.

The NGO WWF describes SUVs as an “aberration” in the face of global warming: they are “200 kilos heavier, 25 cm longer, 10 cm wider” than a standard car. In addition, they require more materials to manufacture, consume 15% more fuel and emit 20% more CO2 than a sedan. David Belliard (EELV), mobility assistant, estimated additional revenue of around 35 million euros in the event of taxation.

Also read: In Australia, the purchase of pick-ups and SUVs is largely subsidized

Motorist associations have criticized the initiative for many months. “More or less SUV, the question is terribly 'amateur'” because the acronym is a “marketing name” which “means nothing”, reacted Yves Carra, spokesperson for the Mobilité Club France. According to him, “compact SUVs will not be subject to taxation”, unlike family sedans and station wagons. For the right-wing opposition, the Parisian vote “demonstrates the extent of the manipulation of the City, which targets SUVs in its communication when in reality, any type of vehicle is likely to be affected by the standards subject to the vote".

As for the accusation of pollution, “a new modern SUV” does not “pollute more, or even less, than a small diesel vehicle from before 2011”, underlines the association 40 million motorists. “If it were really a question of limiting pollution, a distinction would be made between thermal vehicles and hybrid or electric vehicles,” agrees MoDem MP Maud Gatel to AFP. “Resident” SUVs in Paris, not affected by the measure, represent 26.6% of the fleet according to the AAA Data agency.

Also read Road safety: SUVs are deadlier for pedestrians

So-called SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) cars, with characteristics combining “those of a passenger car with those of a utility vehicle”, and 4x4s, will be targeted. However, it is difficult to characterize the vehicles which will be taxed since there is no SUV classification among the body categories as defined by the European Commission. However, there are nine categories in Europe in which car manufacturers add subcategories: urban, compact, family, etc.

They have become the best-selling vehicles across Europe, accounting for half of car sales in 2023.

Also readSUV in Paris: the moment of truth for the new black cat of the cities?

Only residents of the capital registered on the electoral lists will have their say. “Regarding community nationals, only those registered on the additional list for municipal elections will be able to participate in this vote,” specifies the Town Hall. However, it is not possible to use a proxy “due to the municipal status of the vote”.

Also read: Why Anne Hidalgo is wrong in the definition of SUVs, which she is chasing

Voting is open in “all districts of the capital”, assures the Town Hall on its website, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 38 polling places will be open to 1.3 million voters. “The vote will be exclusively physical and will take place between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.,” she continues.

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