The French Don’t Want Your Old Car On Their Roads

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Ah, Paris, the City of Light and absolutely crazy driving. The roads are congested, rules are optional, and it can give a person a heart attack just thinking about navigating those narrow roads. The French government wants to make it better for everyone, by banning old cars from the city center.

Having experienced the joy/terror of driving in Paris, it was never the ages of the cars around me that caused problems, more the complete free for all of how people drove. Still, the government there thinks it’ll all be better if they can just get those old beaters off the streets and make the city less polluted.

Parisian authorities are planning to ban cars registered before December 31, 1996, trucks before September 30, 1997, and commercial vehicles and buses before September 30, 2001 starting as soon as this summer. These cars can still be on French roads and can still run the Perpherique highway that circles Paris, they just won’t be able to come into the city proper.

This is a drastic move designed to target older diesel vehicles which are seen as the biggest pollution culprits in the city. It might sound like a good idea for the air Parisians breath, but it’s going to mean an awful lot of cars hitting the scrap heap, likely before many owners were ready to junk their cars.

Autocar reports that the restrictions won’t stop there, but will continue to remove more and more cars from Parisian roads over the next decade. The end goal in 2020 is to have private cars registered only after 2011 and motorcycles registered only after 2015.

This could mean as many as three million cars being scrapped in the next five years, which also can’t be a great thing for the environment. Unsurprisingly, people who live and drive in Paris are none too happy with these plans with a group of motorcyclists already staging a huge demonstration.

It might be hard on the wallets of those who will be forced to buy new vehicles, but it could give a little boost to France’s domestic car industry. The government is trying to help on that front by possibly offering incentives of around $11,000 to get people out of diesels and into electrics.

Peugeot, Citroen, and Renault all stand to benefit from this proposal, especially if other French cities follow suit, but it’s not a sure thing. Similar proposals in 2010 and 2012 never made it into law, so this latest round might not make it through either.