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SUVs targeted by new weight tax in France

France’s environment minister has announced a new car weight tax designed to encourage manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions

SUVs registered in France will face a new weight tax, designed to get manufacturers to cut down on CO2 emissions.

Announced by the country’s environment minister Barbara Pompili, the scheme will see cars weighing more than 1,800kg taxed at a rate of €10 (around £9.14) for every additional kilogram, according to national news agency France 24.

Pompili tweeted: “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.”

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The new tax will be introduced in the 2021 French budget and will not apply to electric cars. The best-selling SUVs from French brands such as Peugeot and Renault weigh less than 1,800kg, but larger luxury models from German brands like Mercedes and Audi will be affected.

The cars with the highest CO2 emissions already face levies of up to €20,000 (around £18,267) in France. Despite this, the country has seen a slowdown in its reduction of CO2 emissions, with large SUVs taking the blame.

The WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature) claims SUVs were the second-largest source of greenhouse gas increases in France between 2008 and 2018, with the airline industry the biggest. It’s also true, however, that sales of SUVs in Europe have increased dramatically over that time, mostly at the expense of other types of car. 

According to France 24, WWF said: “The 4.3 million sold in France in that decade have the same carbon footprint as 25 million electric compact cars.”

A French Government source told AFP (Agence France-Presse) that the weight tax “is meant to encourage people to avoid very large and heavy models, but also to encourage the industry to take its entire ecological footprint into account and not just emissions”.

Do you think the UK should raise taxes for SUV owners? Let us know in the comments below...

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