Parisians challenge SUV supremacy

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Parisians have voted to triple parking costs in the city for SUVs to combat air pollution, address climate change and challenge the growing dominance of supersized vehicles on urban streets.

In a closely watched referendum, 54.6% of voters favoured imposing special parking fees for SUVs. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, described the move as a form of social justice, emphasizing that it will target wealthy drivers of the largest vehicles who have not yet adjusted their driving behaviour in light of the climate crisis. The new parking tariffs, slated to begin in September, would raise on-street parking fees for SUVs to €18 per hour in the city centre and €12 per hour elsewhere, triple the price for other cars. Paris residents' parking is excluded from this higher charge. Approximately 10% of Parisian vehicles will be affected by the increased parking fees.

"The result of the vote is a victory for Paris residents' quality of life," said Tony Renucci, director of the air quality campaign group Respire, "the presence of these monsters on wheels was no longer desirable on our streets."

Recent research by the Global Fuel Economy Initiative has highlighted the growing popularity of SUVs and their negative impact on many aspects of city life in the report 'Trends in the global vehicle fleet - managing the SUV shift and the EV transition'. More than half of new car sales worldwide are now SUVs, and the shift to larger vehicles has damaged progress on climate, energy security and diversification, as energy demand and CO2 emissions could have fallen 30% more between 2010-2022 if vehicles had stayed the same size.

Sheila Watson, Deputy Director of the FIA Foundation, said: "The love affair with the SUV has to end. They are bad for our climate, undoing progress on energy efficiency, they are bad for our local environment by crowding-out other road users such as cyclists, and they are more dangerous for other road users. Paris is showing how cities can listen to their people, start to take control of their streets and challenge the supremacy of the SUV."