"In the fog". The 2024 study by the Cetelem Observatory, published on Tuesday, shows that French motorists, but not only that, have little knowledge of the regulations and the future of the automobile. For example, if the EU approved last March the end of the sale of thermal cars from 2035, only one in two French people (53%) are aware of the existence of this future ban. A relatively low proportion, but which nevertheless remains higher than abroad. On average, in the 16 countries of the world studied (Austria, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, Turkey and the United States), 49% say they are aware of such regulations.
“European countries, where lobbying by manufacturers has been intense to counter these regulations, concentrate the greatest number of motorists who are aware of these measures,” specifies the Cetelem Observatory. The French remain less well informed than the Germans (66%), the British (62%) or the Spanish (62%).
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Likewise, in low-emission zones (ZFE), these urban areas where access is limited to the least polluting vehicles, the level of information also remains patchy. If 77% of French people know about their existence, only 48% know precisely what it is. France, however, remains at the top of the world rankings. The Cetelem Observatory notes in fact that “most European countries, particularly those where ZFEs are in place, stand out for having the greatest number of motorists who are precisely aware of their existence. This is particularly the case for Germany, Belgium, Italy and France, with scores of 50% or almost.
In France, 11 metropolises have so far set up a low-emission zone, including Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Strasbourg. But only six in ten French people (59%) know that these ZFEs are indeed present in France. “The highest scores are found in Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and also in France, nations which have established EPZs or are considering their deployment,” specifies the Observatory.
To this “fog”, as the study calls it, is added the “doubt cast on the electric car” by the increase in electricity prices following the war in Ukraine, explained to AFP the director of the Observatory, Flavien Neuvy. “People wonder if it’s really a good idea,” he says, while switching to electric is necessary to limit global warming. Thus, as summarized by the Cetelem Observatory, this study “in any case shows that motorists are expectant in many respects, to the point of showing suspicion and skepticism” about the electric car.