Currently reading: Paris votes to triple parking costs for heavy cars
Combustion cars weighing more than 1600kg and EVs weighing more than 2000kg will be surcharged

Paris has voted to triple the parking costs of especially heavy cars in a move aimed at countering the rise of SUVs on the French capital's streets.

Petrol, diesel and hybrid cars that weigh more than 1600kg and electric cars that weigh more than 2000kg will be charged a significantly higher rate for parking.

Drivers of such cars will be charged €18 (£15.40) per hour to park in the city centre and €12 (£10.30) to park elsewhere within city limits.

Although the move has widely been reported as an attack on SUVs, it also affects many saloons and coupés, including the Audi A6, BMW i4 and Genesis G70.

Plug-in hybrids – which can run with zero tailpipe emissions for short-to-medium distances – are especially affected by the new rule.

The BMW 330e tips the scales at 1740kg, the Citroën C5 X PHEV weighs 1722kg and the Mercedes-Benz A250e is 1680kg.

BMW 330e front quarter tracking

Parisian mayor Anne Hidalgo hailed the vote as a “clear choice” by the city’s residents, despite recording only a 54.6% vote in favour against a voter turnout of 5.7%.

Hidalgo previously said the increased tariff would be “a form of social justice”.

She's quoted by The Guardian as saying: “This is about very expensive cars, driven by people who today have not yet made the changes to their behaviour that have to be made [for the climate].”

Deputy mayor David Belliard added that the measure “will be directed at the richest people”.

Nonetheless, residents of Paris – which has some of the highest property costs in Europe, according to a July 2023 report by Bloomberg – aren't affected by the increase in parking rates.

Audi Q5 parked in Paris

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There are also exemptions for commercial vehicles (including taxis) and the disabled.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said on Friday that he would consider replicating the surcharge for heavy cars, calling himself “a firm believer in stealing good policies". 

“If other cities are doing stuff that works, we will copy them,” said Khan.

Surprising cars affected by Paris’s purported SUV tax

Paris’s increased parking charge for heavy vehicles is pitched by its creators as part of a war on SUVs, and much of the media’s reporting has followed suit in calling it a tax on 4x4s.

However, many more compact models are also affected. Here are some of the most surprising…

BYD Seal

BYD Seal front quarter driving

Kerb weight: 2055kg

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Mercedes C-Class front

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Kerb weight: 1650kg

Peugeot 308 Hybrid 180

Peugeot 308 front quarter driving

Kerb weight: 1608kg 

Jaguar XF

Jaguar XF Sportbrake front cornering

Kerb weight: 1735kg

Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI

Skoda Superb Estate front quarter

Kerb weight: 1618kg

Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin Autocar
Title: Editorial Assistant, Autocar

As a reporter, Charlie plays a key role in setting the news agenda for the automotive industry. He joined Autocar in July 2022 after a nine-month stint as an apprentice with sister publication, What Car?. He's previously contributed to The Intercooler, and placed second in Hagerty’s 2019 Young Writer competition with a MG Metro 6R4 feature

He is the proud owner of a Fiat Panda 100HP, and hopes to one day add a lightweight sports car like a Caterham Seven or a Lotus Elise S1 to his collection.

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Vertigo 6 February 2024
Good idea that will hopefully be rolled out elsewhere. It addresses a lot of problems: bigger cars take up more room on cramped city streets, are less efficient so create more exhaust or use more electricity per mile, and will typically have a higher carbon footprint.

The exact stipulations may need a bit of tinkering though. Plug-in hybrids are very close to pure-electric cars in weight terms, so need their limit bumped up a bit. Another +50 or 100kg for the other fuel types would also let in more medium-sized cars but very few SUVs.

I also wonder if it might be more egalitarian to vary the limit *by number of seats*, or by vehicle class, so that MPVs/minivans aren't necessarily targeted. They're typically driven by large families, professional drivers or carpooling collectives, who literally need vehicles that large.

SUVs on the other hand are space-inefficient: heavy for the sake of fashion rather than practicality. The vast majority of their drivers don't use them for anything that a hatchback can't do.

KeithS 6 February 2024

Coming to London soon no doubt, following another twisted and/or ignored public consultation. Anything to steal from the beleaguered 'easy target' motorist. Quite literally highway robbery! 

Andrew1 6 February 2024

You know we have elections in this country? If the "motorists" don't like it they can vote for someone else.

Commenter 6 February 2024
It looks like more of influence the types of cars that will be produced will be the biggest impact. If more major cities besides London copy this policy, manufacturers will take notice and produce lighter cars. It is not heavy handed because there's no ban.
Vertigo 6 February 2024
Yup. I've thought for a while that the outright *ban* on new combustion sales is kicking the hornet's nest, and a smarter idea would have been to follow the example Norway set over the last decade: aggressive tax policy. Make combustion engined vehicles so much more expensive to buy that only the people desperate for them will have them. Pure-electric comprised 82% of Norway's car sales last year; plugless cars were just 10%.

By the same token... an SUV *ban* would kick up such a furore from industry stooges, farmers and Range Rover fans that it would end up being difficult to pass. But by making them prohibitively expensive for casual buyers, the change can be executed far more quickly and easily.