Paris prepares to hit SUV owners with higher parking fees due to rising car sizes
On February 4, 2024, Parisians can vote on a proposal for a new local regulation. The objective is straightforward - impose a higher parking fee on SUV owners. Why? SUVs are too large to fit easily into the parking spaces in the French capital.
The organization Transportation & Environment reported in 2018 that the average width of a passenger car was 70.0 inches. By 2020, it had increased to 71.0 inches. According to studies cited by T&E, SUVs are the leading cause of this surge in size. European regulations permit a maximum width of 100.4 inches, applicable to buses or trucks. However, the minimum legal parking spaces in many European cities are only 70.9 inches wide. As a result, parking, especially with SUVs, often encroaches onto the next space.
Even in the case of the more generous European average parking space width of 94.5 inches, there is no guaranteed comfort. The current widths of vehicles make it a common practice to drop off passengers before parking. However, this issue is not just about convenience but also safety, which SUVs provide, primarily for drivers and passengers.
The increase in car width means less space remains on busy city streets for other road users, such as cyclists. Moreover, studies suggest that a 3.9-inch increase in the front of a car results in a 3 percent increased risk of a collision with a pedestrian or cyclist, proving fatal for the unprotected individual. This is a further reason why SUVs may become unpopular in city settings.
According to Transport & Environment, there is a fair chance that a law in Paris requiring higher parking charges for SUVs will materialize. A survey conducted in the French capital by the Clean Cities Campaign found that as many as two-thirds of respondents support such a measure. If this sentiment is representative of the wider population, an interesting few months may lie ahead for Paris.