Paris May Ban Older Cars to Improve Air Quality
For some, classic cars like the Peugeot or Renault are part of Paris’s landscape. However, the Mayor is looking to put an end to the old classic scenery by banning all models 1997 and older in a bid for cleaner air.
The proposal has angered classic car owners who would be banned from driving the area inside the A86 Auto route, the highway that rings Paris. According to Reuters, 3% of Parisian vehicles are old school accounting to 365,000 cars. Other proponents to this measure worry that they will not be able to afford a newer car. A program similar to cash-for-clunkers will be available to encourage those with cars older than 17 years to give them up.
Fabien Breuvart is an owner of a silver Renault L4 and said the plan would “exclude the poorest people from driving in the capital” and turn Paris into an “island for the rich”.
Motorists that commute with those nifty vespas or other scooters, and motorcycles will also be affected if Mayor Bertrand Delanoë has his way. If the measure passes, all motorcycles older than 2004 would be banned, as the mayor said they are the most polluting and noisiest.
The talk around town is that the move was purely driven by politics to make Anne Hidalgo, the deputy he hopes will succeed him in 2014; appear “greener” than the Greens.
Currently, Europeans are undergoing an economic crisis and car sales have taken a major hit. Experts say that removing all the beautiful classic cars from the road will not fix their economic problems. And as far as helping the environment it has been proven that the process of manufacturing a new car far outweighs carbon emission savings from improved MPG. This of course will not spare the air as they are touting. Moreover, state subsidies given to scrap old cars for new ones is deemed an unrealistic and bad move considering the rough economic times.
Other initiatives up for consideration are to put up toll barriers for cross-city motorways for trucks. In addition, An Eco tax will be charged to those who use the Paris inner ring road while heavy vehicles are tracked by satellite or license plate recognition. The speed limit on the ring road, which sets the boundary between the city and its suburbs, will be reduced from 50 mph to 43 mph in order to curb emissions. The mayor said their goal is to progressively ban all trucks from driving in or around the city and turn Paris into a “Low Emissions Zone” by slashing them 30% by 2015.
Air pollution in Paris isn’t exactly as bad as Mexico or London but it does account for 43,000 deaths a year in France. The ban on old cars is all in keeping with the mayor’s environmental agenda that he has been pushing for some time. He has stressed the importance of public transportation by introducing trams which are basically trolley cars that run on rails throughout the city along with added bike and bus lanes and a well received bike rental scheme. He also brought an electric car rental program to light in 2011 called Autolib, which is a spinoff of the popular bike-sharing program. It has attracted 37,000 registered users as of October 2012 with 13,000 annual users.
While the mayor has done many great things to improve the environment in the beautiful capital, it seems clear that this proposal is not exactly the most efficient nor the smartest way to get the job done.
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