21 Feb 2024, 13:43
Franca Quecke

German NGO campaigns for Paris-style parking fees in cities for SUVs

Clean Energy Wire

Following the decision by the citizens of the French capital Paris in a recent referendum to triple the parking fees for SUVs, NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH) has announced formal applications for German cities to restrict the number of oversized vehicles in city centres. Citizens can join a participatory campaign to nominate a city in which the NGO should submit an application for measures against large SUVs. Specifically, the DUH is calling for inner-city parking restrictions for oversized vehicles of with a length of 5 metres or more and increased parking fees for particularly large cars, aiming to reduce emissions by targeting wealthy drivers in large, polluting vehicles. "Our city centres are in danger of being suffocated by oversized city SUVs and lifestyle pickups,” DHU head Jürgen Resch stated in the press release. “With our planned formal applications, we are showing the responsible authorities how they can use existing legal options today,” Resch said. He added that this could take place through higher parking fees and the control and sanctioning of regular parking violations by oversized cars.

Compared to many other countries, residents' parking fees are very low in many German cities. However, there are several new initiatives to raise those costs, which according to the DUH is an “essential lever” to minimise the number of oversized SUVs in city centres. Since 2022, owners of combustion cars in the German city of Tübingen have to pay 180 euros instead of 120 euros per year if their vehicle weighs more than 1.8 tonnes. German cities Cologne and Koblenz recently announced that there will soon be graduated charges for residents' parking based on vehicle size. Germany has struggled to lower emissions in the transport sector, as gains from more efficient engines have been eaten up by the trend to heavier vehicles, such as SUVs.

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