Tag Archive: SUVs

  1. European cities consider measures against SUVs following Paris referendum

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    Sources: CNBC, Vias

    Citing safety and environmental concerns, cities across Europe are following Paris’ lead with new laws aiming to discourage citizens from buying SUVs

    Paris SUV parking charge

    In a recent referendum, the majority of Parisians voted to increase parking fees for SUVs in an attempt to discourage more users from choosing this mode of transport. Due to their larger size, SUVs emit more emissions and pollute the environment more than other vehicles, as well as being a concern for road safety. Other cities have since taken action following the Paris vote, and a report also highlights the dangers these vehicles can pose to other road users.

    Recent report on SUVs causing increased injuries in road collisions

    Belgian knowledge institute Vias has also reported on the vehicle characteristics that affect injury severity after analysing all collisions between 2017 and 2021, involving 300,000 car occupants and vulnerable road users. The results show that vehicle mass plays an important role in the impact of a collision, with drivers of heavier vehicles more likely to be protected by the vehicle (injury risk in a collision decreases by 25% for SUV drivers), but individuals hit by them being more likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries (injury risk increased by 20% for car occupants that collided with an SUV).

    These findings also have concerning implications for the safety of other road passengers such as cyclists and pedestrians. Vias reported that the risk of fatal injuries increases by 30% if either a cyclist or pedestrian gets hit by a car with a hood that is 10cm higher than average.

    Cities in Europe also implementing policies to curb SUV sales.

    With reports on sales of SUV vehicles on the increase, Paris is not alone in its bids to decrease the popularity of heavier SUV vehicles:

    • Paris’ SUV referendum originally followed the initiative of fellow French city Lyon, which had already announced a similar policy to enforce higher parking charges for heavier vehicles, which will be applied next June.
    • Another city in France, Grenoble, has already enforced a higher environmental tariff for heavier vehicles in car parks and is now also considering taxing SUVs as an additional initiative, as confirmed by the mayor’s spokesperson to CNBC.
    • French city Grenoble, meanwhile, has already implemented a higher environmental tariff in car parks for heavier vehicles, and a spokesperson from the mayor’s office in Bordeaux told CNBC that the city and the mayor are “at the reflection stage on the subject of taxing SUVs.”
    • Meanwhile in Germany, the city of Tübingen has introduced a six-fold increase in the annual cost of resident parking permits to 180 euros for vehicles with a combustion engine, that weigh over 1.8 metric tons.
    • The mayor of Hannover in Germany, told CNBC that after the Paris vote, residents of the city would “also have to face the question of how we deal with vehicles that take up more space.”

    Meanwhile, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan implied that he would be paying attention to the effectiveness of these policies. It will be interesting to see the ongoing effects of these SUV policies, and if other cities will also join on trying to mitigate SUV usage due to road safety and environmental concerns.

  2. Parisians vote to triple parking fees for SUVs

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    Source: France 24

    According to official results from city hall, Parisian voters on Sunday approved a proposal by the city’s socialist mayor, Anne Hidalgo, to triple parking fees for large SUV-style vehicles.

    In the recent vote, 54.55% of Parisians supported a proposal to increase parking charges for cars weighing 1.6 tonnes or more to €18 per hour in the city centre and €12 further out. However, only 5.7% (78,000) of the 1.3 million eligible voters participated at the 39 voting stations across the French capital.

    Mayor Anne Hidalgo celebrated the outcome as a “clear choice of Parisians” in favour of a measure deemed “good for our health and good for the planet.” Exemptions include fully electric cars exceeding two tonnes, Paris residents or workers, taxi drivers, tradespeople, health workers, and people with disabilities.

    Supporters, like Gregoire Marchal, emphasized the ecological and societal aspects of the measure, encouraging a reconsideration of personal behaviour regarding car use. Nevertheless, not all voters shared the sentiment, with some expressing dissatisfaction with what they perceived as Hidalgo’s dictatorial approach.

    Under Hidalgo’s leadership, Paris has implemented measures such as pedestrianizing streets and building cycle lanes to discourage driving and reduce emissions. SUVs, labelled an “aberration” by environmental group WWF, have been singled out for their increased fuel consumption, safety concerns, and greater use of public space.

    Critics argue against the imprecise targeting of SUVs, with concerns raised about the scheme’s classification and potential impacts on different types of vehicles. The opposition questions the transparency of the referendum, accusing the city government of manipulation.

    Drivers’ groups and France’s Environment Minister, Christophe Bechu, criticize the SUV surcharge as punitive environmentalism, advocating for a focus on vehicle weight rather than a specific category. Hidalgo’s transport chief estimates that around 10% of Paris vehicles would be affected, generating up to €35 million annually.

    The anti-SUV initiative in Paris has inspired similar plans in Lyon, where the Green party mayor intends to introduce a three-tier parking fee for residents and visitors starting in June. The recent referendum’s turnout echoes a trend seen in a previous vote on banning rental scooters, emphasizing the challenges of engaging citizens in local decision-making.

  3. Newly-sold passenger vehicles are getting one centimetre wider every 2 years

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    Unchecked, expanding car sizes are becoming too wide for standard street parking

    In a recent revelation, Transport & Environment’s (T&E) research exposes a concerning trend in the automotive industry: new cars in Europe are widening by 1 cm every two years. The primary driver behind this expansion is the soaring popularity of SUVs. The widening trend poses a significant challenge to urban spaces, with over 50% of new vehicles becoming too wide for standard on-street parking.

    As of the first half of 2023, the average width of new cars reached 180.3 cm, a noticeable increase from 177.8 cm in 2018. T&E warns that without legislative intervention, this trend is poised to persist, as current regulations allow new cars to match the width of trucks. The consequences are evident in major cities like London, Paris, and Rome, where 52% of the top 100 car models sold in 2023 exceeded the minimum specified on-street parking space of 180 cm.

    Large luxury SUVs, in particular, showcase remarkable growth, with the Land Rover Defender expanding by 20.6 cm in six years and the Mercedes X5 by 6 cm. This widening phenomenon not only reduces road space for other vehicles and cyclists but also endangers pedestrians. Crash data reveals a 30% higher risk of fatalities in collisions involving vehicles with increased height.

    Recognizing the severity of the issue, several European cities have already implemented stricter parking rules for SUVs. Paris is taking a pioneering step by proposing a referendum to triple parking fees for heavy cars, with a recent poll indicating strong support from around two-thirds of Parisians.

    T&E advocates for a comprehensive approach to address this challenge. They call for a review of the maximum width of new cars by EU lawmakers during upcoming legislative updates. Additionally, city authorities are urged to implement parking charges and tolls based on vehicle size and weight, ensuring that larger vehicles contribute more for utilizing valuable urban space.

    The widening of cars may seem like a subtle shift, but its impact on urban life is substantial. As Parisians prepare to vote on February 4th, they have a unique opportunity to set a precedent that could influence other European cities to prioritize pedestrian safety, reduce congestion, and create more sustainable urban environments. The call for legislative action is clear – it’s time to curb the widening of cars and preserve our urban spaces for the benefit of all citizens.

  4. Parisian citizens face a new referendum about SUVs on their streets

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    Source: The Mayor EU

    The French capital will have a vote on a new mobility policy regarding sports utility vehicles

    Authorities have organised a referendum to take place on February 4th about whether parking price rates for sports utility vehicles (SUVs) should be increased.

    SUVs are the largest type of private car, and are seen by many as heavy and bulky, causing high pollution on the roads and increased casualties, so voters will be asked if their owners should be charged specific rates for parking them around Paris.

    Why are SUVs the target?

    This is the second traffic and public space referendum that Paris’ local government has organised within 12 months. In April, the French capital caught the attention of European media and beyond with the news that it was letting its residents decide whether they’d like to ban publicly shared scooters from its streets.

    The majority of votes said yes to this, and made Paris an interesting example of participatory democracy in daily matters. With a second referendum on the way, some are wondering if referendums will be a regular occurrence for traffic policy in Paris.

    If the vote goes the same way for SUVs, local authorities have proposed tripling visitor (non-resident) parking rates. This would mean SUV parking in Parisian districts 1-11 would be €18 per hour, and for districts 12-20 it would be €12 per hour – if approved.

    It’s possible that with new financial obstacles in place, the popularity of SUVs and 4x4s could decrease in France.

    For 30 years, the average size and weight of cars in France has increased, taking up more and more space on the road, on sidewalks and in public spaces generally. Within this period, cars have reportedly become heavier by almost 250 kilos; in 1990, the average vehicle weight was 975 kg and today it is 1,233 kg.

    The Mayor.EU highlights that even if the number of largest cars drop, then an issue still remains with the large sizes of the remaining cars on the streets that contribute to road pollution, which could counteract any positive effects, and therefore fail to benefit the environment.

  5. Freiburg SUV Parking fee overturned

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    Source: Saz Bike

    The Federal Administrative Court has reversed Freiburg residents’ parking fees that had been based upon the length of their car, deeming them invalid. The 13th June decision doesn’t influence the standard fee of 360 euros per year, however.

    Freiburg had charged residents 30 euros per annum to use residential parking spaces. On 1st April 2022 a tiered levy was introduced, dependent on the length of the vehicle; 240 euros (up to 4.20 meters), 360 euros (from 4.21 to 4.70 meters) or 480 euros (from 4.71 meters).

    Reduced fees were granted for residents receiving certain social benefits or those with disabilities, including individuals with an orange parking permit. These charges amounted to 60 euros, 90 euros and 210 euros. Those regarded as severely disabled with blue badges remained completely exempt.

    Car length charge disparity

    As an example of the resident’s park area charges, let’s assume a Freiburg resident applicant owns a motor vehicle that he or she already has a residential parking permit for. The resident’s first protest against the charges was to the Administrative Court of Baden- Württemberg and was unsuccessful. However, on appeal, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig deemed the charges worthless. Residential parking fees are regulated by federal law under the Road Traffic Act and cities need to abide by these laws. The car length charges were regarded as a violation of equality and unrepresentative of fairness, particularly as a 50cm difference in length could see a doubling of the fee in the most extreme cases.

    Yearly parking fee

    What was deemed as fair and effective by the Federal Administrative Court was the 360-euro annual parking fee. More information on the findings can be found here.

    Similar charges elsewhere

    Freiburg isn’t the only city to have had logistic charges imposed. In Tübingen, the resident’s parking fee is related to the weight of the car: For SUVs weighing 1.8 tons or more, the annual fee increases by 50 percent.

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