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Paris To Give SUVs Le Boot

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On: Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 5:10PM | By: Chris Weiss

Paris To Give SUVs Le Boot

Ever imagine a city highway/byway system free of large, overconfident, CO2-puking hunks of steel and fiberglass known as SUVs? Of course, we all have; it's only natural. Sure SUVs have their place on certain types of drives, but for too many years they've become the default vehicle of choice for soccer moms and Stepford wives.

Well, if you happen to be living in or visiting Paris, you may not have to fantasize any longer. The city plans to test restrictions on gas guzzling vehicles in the heart of downtown. Pretty soon, the Parisian architecture and skyline will no longer be obstructed by boxy, annoying refrigerators on wheels.

Next year, Paris will test restrictions on vehicles that emit a certain level of CO2 per kilometer. And while the city administration hasn't specified the cut-off point, it has indicated that SUVs and old diesel cars will likely be on the wrong side of the line.

In fact, one mayoral administration official didn't mince words when referring to the vehicle types that would be banned. Denis Baupin, an environmental official in the administration, said: "I'm sorry, but having a sport utility vehicle in a city makes no sense. Sell it and buy a vehicle that's compatible with city life."

Imagine that quote in a terse French accent and it sounds even harsher.

It's hard to argue with Baupin's logic, though. SUVs take up way to much space on crowded, overpopulated downtown streets and parking lots. They emit all kinds of pollution in cities that are often already over-polluted, thanks to industry and population. And their large, inefficient engines and hulking size really don't serve much purpose in short, city commutes where cleaner alternatives like public transportation and urban commuters could easily suffice. So it'll be interesting to see how Paris' experiment turns out.

Details like the specific emissions cut-off, the location of bans, time frame, and penalties are yet to be determined.

Other French cities are considering similar restrictions, including Lyon, Grenoble, and Aix-en-Provence. Those cities plan to get restrictions in place within the next year or two.

I can think of a few cities over here in the U.S. that could benefit from similar restrictions. Hopefully, officials are watching France closely.


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