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French apply gastric band to car avoirdupois

French drivers are facing a scary tax slug as the nation attempts to rein in the growing ownership of large polluting vehicles.

If you want a big, fat SUV then you will be paying for the privilege.

The exact fee is yet to be set, but discussions have been around a charge of 10 Euros ($16.50) for every kilo in excess of 1800 kilograms.

This could add $6500 to the price of vehicles popular in Australia such as a Ford Ranger or Toyota Prado.

But the French may consider themselves lucky as the original weight threshold was to be 1400 kilos, but was eased due to the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Environment Minister Barbara Pompili said: "The weight tax that we're creating sends a strong and necessary message to take into account the environmental impact of the heaviest vehicles.

"The heavier cars get, the more materials and energy they consume, with more pollution," she said, adding that bigger cars also took up a disproportionate share of public space.

The French have typically favoured compact vehicles weighing around 1200 kilos, but SUVs are gaining in popularity.

The average French car is now 100 kilos heavier than 10 years ago.

It has been calculated that an SUV has five times the carbon footprint of a compact electric car.

As country’s around the world move to lock in their zero net emissions targets, concern is mounting over the increasing numbers of larger vehicles.

In counties such as France and Australia vehicle emissions are no longer declining as expected: the reason is because vehicles are getting bigger and heavier.

France already has regulations that penalise petrol guzzling cars—an extra $33,000 dollars on the price ticket of some of the most polluting cars.

Australia’s total vehicle emissions are out of control, and the longer we delay action, the more painful the inevitable measures will be.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.

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