Paris to triple parking fees for heavy SUVs, but efficient hybrids to be caught in firing line

A new law tripling parking fees in Paris for vehicles above set weight thresholds is intended to discourage SUVs – but will also penalise drivers of hybrid hatchbacks and sedans capable of zero-emissions driving.

Paris is set to triple parking fees for heavy cars – charging up to €225 ($AU370) for a six-hour stay in the city centre – in new legislation claimed to target the growing size and pedestrian safety risks posed by SUVs.

However – in what appears to be an own-goal – it has caught fuel-efficient hybrid hatchbacks and sedans in the firing line, even though they can produce zero tailpipe emissions, and are not as dangerous to pedestrians if they are struck.

Vehicles above defined weight limits will see the price of a one-hour park in inner Paris (city centre to the 11th district) increase from €6 ($AU10) to €18 ($AU30), while in outer city areas (12th to 20th districts) it will rise from €4 ($AU6.50) to €12 ($AU19.70).

For a six-hour stay, total prices climb to €225 ($AU370) in the city centre – or €150 ($AU245) in the outer districts.

The higher prices affects petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles weighing more than 1600kg, electric vehicles weighing more than 2000kg, and “visitors owning an SUV exceeding the regulatory weight,” according to the Paris city council.

The rules do not appear to affect small SUVs – such as a Kia Stonic (about 1200kg) or Suzuki Jimny (about 1000kg), which produce CO2 from traditional petrol or diesel engines – nor a lighter electric SUV such as a Tesla Model Y (about 1900kg to 1980kg in Australia).

Yet the new rules would hit the plug-in hybrid version of the Peugeot 308 hatchback – France’s seventh best-selling car in 2023 – with the tripled parking prices as it weighs 1665kg, even though it can run on zero emissions, has a small footprint, and a bonnet line lower than a Model Y or comparable unaffected vehicle.

A low-riding Skoda Superb diesel wagon – which claims to consume just 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres of fuel despite being the length of a Holden Commodore or Ford Falcon – would also be affected as it could weigh up to 1859kg with certain options ticked.

Only 6 per cent of Parisians on the electoral roll participated in the vote – but 54 per cent voted in favour of the parking law, which is due to come into force on 1 September 2024.

This latest road legislation will not affect taxi drivers, tradespeople, health workers and disabled people – and excludes motorists parking in their designated residential parking zone.

As reported by The Guardian – even though the new laws will also affect frugal hybrid hatchbacks and diesel sedans – Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said this change was “a form of social justice” intended to “deliberately target the richest drivers of expensive, heavy and polluting cars who had not yet made changes to their behaviour to address the climate crisis.”

David Belliard – Paris’s deputy mayor in charge of transport – said this new parking tariff is expected to affect 10 per cent of the city’s vehicles and could raise €35 million ($AU58.4 million) in yearly revenue for the city.

This news comes as Paris has previously introduced strict restrictions on vehicles travelling along its inner-city ring road – the Boulevard Périphérique – requiring petrol-powered cars to operate under Euro 2 emission standards, while diesel vehicles compliant with Euro 4 are allowed permit-only entry.

Ethan Cardinal

Ethan Cardinal graduated with a Journalism degree in 2020 from La Trobe University and has been working in the fashion industry as a freelance writer prior to joining Drive in 2023. Ethan greatly enjoys investigating and reporting on the cross sections between automotive, lifestyle and culture. Ethan relishes the opportunity to explore how deep cars are intertwined within different industries and how they could affect both casual readers and car enthusiasts.

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