Paris referendum result could mark a new era of SUV restrictions in cities

February 4, 2024
54.5% of voters support plans by the Paris mayor to triple parking charges for heavy SUVs

A majority of voters in Paris has endorsed the city’s plan to increase parking charges for heavy SUVs.

The French capital held a referendum on February 4th asking residents to decide whether very heavy cars should pay up to three times more than regular cars, a proposal approved by 54.55% of voters.

The result means that Paris could become the second major French city (after Lyon) and the first European capital to implement such a policy. [2]

Jens Mueller, Deputy Director of Clean Cities, says: “Today’s vote is an important message from Parisians that monster SUVs are simply incompatible with urban life. Paris has already leapfrogged towards a city where people can easily walk, cycle and enjoy liveable neighbourhoods. Today’s vote takes Paris even closer to the vision of a truly people-centred city. Cities across Europe will hopefully be inspired to follow the example of the French capital.”

Tony Renucci, director of French clean air group Respire, a local partner of the Clean Cities coalition, says: “The result of the vote is a victory for Parisians’ quality of life. By making SUVs pay for the cost and nuisance they cause, Paris is sending a signal that these monsters on wheels are not welcome on our streets. It’s also excellent news for air quality, road safety and rebalancing public space in cities”.

Research from Transport and Environment last month revealed that on average new cars are getting 1cm wider every two years. [3] The average width of new cars in the EU now exceeds 180 cm, often a minimum specification for on-street parking in European cities, including Paris.

Clean Cities calls on the Mayor of Paris to move quickly to implement the new parking charges, and to ensure that exemptions and reductions are in place for low-income households and large families, as is the case in Lyon.

Notes to editors:

[1] In November 2023, the City of Paris announced a referendum for 4 February 2024 in which residents were asked to vote on setting a specific parking tariff for heavy cars. The new rules would triple the price of parking (to €18 per hour in central districts, and €12 in other areas) but would not apply to Paris residents’ parking. The city organised a similar vote last year on the prohibition of shared electric scooters, following which it became the first European capital to impose such a ban.
[2] The city of Lyon recently adopted higher parking costs for heavier vehicles, requiring SUVs to pay €15 more per month than an average car and €30 more than electric vehicles. Outside of France, the German city of Tübingen has been applying a 50% mark-up on residential park charges since 2022. The association of German cities came out in support of higher parking charges based on the size of the vehicle.
[3] See Transport & Environment. (2024). Cars are getting 1 cm wider every two years – research. Link

Press Contact:

Celeste Hicks – Communications Manager Clean Cities Campaign

+44 7957 915696

Jens Mueller – deputy director Clean Cities Campaign

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