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Paris city hall targets SUVs with referendum on higher parking fees

Parking hefty vehicles in Paris could soon come with a matching price tag if a Sunday referendum to triple the cost for SUVs is passed, in a vote that has raised the hackles of some drivers in the French capital.

The tall, heavy cars' higher output of pollution and increased threat to pedestrians have been put forward by Mayor Anne Hidalgo to justify the move, which follows steps to pedestrianize some streets and build a network of cycle lanes.

"The bigger they are, the more they pollute," Socialist Hidalgo said in December.

Environmental group WWF has dubbed SUVs an "aberration", saying they burn 15 percent more fuel than a classic coupe and cost more to build and purchase.

Hidalgo further charges that SUVs in particular monopolise space on the road and in parking places, with the town hall saying the average car has swollen by 250 kilogrammes (550 pounds) since 1990.

Some 1.3 million Parisians will be eligible to vote in the latest plebiscite offered by the French capital, with city hall hoping participation will be up on the meagre showing in a vote last year on e-scooters.

The plan would see non-Parisians' internal combustion or hybrid vehicles weighing over 1.6 tonnes -- two tonnes for electrics -- charged 18 euros ($19.60) to park in the city centre for an hour, falling to 12 euros further out.

But drivers' groups have attacked the scheme, with Yves Carra of Mobilite Club France saying the "SUV" classification is "a marketing term" that "means nothing".

(AFP)


Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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