SUV drivers could see parking charges triple after key Paris vote as UK struggles to deal with larger cars

SUV drivers could see parking charges triple after key Paris vote as UK struggles to deal with larger cars

WATCHl The panel discusses whether cars are getting too big for UK roads

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 04/02/2024

- 10:00

Updated: 06/02/2024

- 15:59

The Mayor of Paris has described the referendum as a 'form of social justice'

A vote taking place today could see SUV drivers pay three times more to park in a major city than other vehicles as drivers in the UK continue to invest in larger vehicles.

Residents in Paris will take part in a referendum today, February 4, and vote on whether new parking charges should be introduced to increase costs for larger SUVs.

Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo has been vocal in cutting down on emissions and targeting the richest drivers and owners of SUVs which often pollute more than standard cars.

If residents of the French capital vote yes, the cost of on-street parking for an SUV or 4x4 will rise to €18 (£15) an hour for the centre of the city and €12 (£10) an hour across the rest of the city.

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SUV driving outside the Eiffel Tower in Paris

The aim of the vote is to get SUV owners to switch to smaller and less polluting vehicles


This will impact vehicles weighing more than 1.6 tonnes with a petrol, diesel or hybrid engine, and electric vehicles heavier than two tonnes or more.

She described the referendum as a “form of social justice”, with the move not applying to Paris residents’ parking, the Guardian reported.

Mayor Hidalgo added: “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].”

It has been suggested that the measures could raise €35million (£29.9million) for the city with the money likely to be invested into public transport and active travel measures.

David Belliard, the leader of the Green Party at the Council of Paris, said the expensive parking charges would incentivise people to ditch their larger SUVs and use alternative forms of transport.

He added: “SUVs cost between €6,000 to €7,000 (£5,118-£5,971) more than a standard car and all the studies by car firms show that they are bought by the wealthiest people with high incomes.

“This measure, if applied, will be directed at the richest people in order to finance the transformation of our public space to adapt to the climate crisis, so it’s a form of social redistribution.”

The Council of Paris, headed by Anne Hidalgo, held another referendum in 2023 to ban the use of electric scooters. Residents in the French capital voted overwhelmingly to ban them, although the turnout was just 7.5 per cent.

Drivers in France, the UK and across the world are starting to make the switch to larger vehicles like SUVs to navigate the streets, with these changes already having a huge impact on the car market.

In August last year, Swedish manufacturing giant Volvo announced that it would ditch existing estate and saloon cars from its UK range, preferring to sell only electric vehicles and SUVs to meet demand from consumers.

Recent research revealed that cars are becoming dangerously large by becoming bigger by one centimetre every two years.

Data from Transport and Environment (T&E) found that cars in the UK are starting to exceed the 180cm minimum width for on-street parking, growing from 177.8cm in 2018 to 180.3cm in 2023.


SUV driving

SUV owners in Paris could soon pay huge charges to park


Experts including Sarah McMonagle from Cycling UK slammed the transition to “even more obese cars” and called for the Government to introduce tough rules to crack down on larger vehicles.

She added: “Bigger cars are not better, they’re less sustainable, make our roads more dangerous, and take up more space, increasing congestion.”

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