Photo-illustration: Unsplash (Steven Binotto)

France has been having a debate for some time on the topic of large cars and the expansion in the sale of SUVs and 4×4 vehicles. In the last three decades, cars have become heavier by 250 kilogrammes, considering that today the average weight is 1,233 kilogrammes and it used to be 975 kilogrammes.

Research shows that the current average car width has also increased to 180.3cm, while five years ago it was 177.8cm. This growth in the number of large SUVs, which are sometimes 200cm long, causes problems such as a lack of space for safe entry and exit, according to the European Federation for Transport and the Environment.

Considering this trend in the purchase of bulky vehicles, Paris authorities held a referendum for its citizens on February 4, 2024, so they could give their opinion on the introduction of a special parking ticket for large passenger vehicles. Apart from the space they occupy, these vehicles are also bigger polluters if they run on fossil fuels, but they are also more unsafe for pedestrians and other traffic participants.

Voting was open to all Parisians with a registered residence, in the same way as last year’s referendum regarding the use of self-service electric scooters.


Just like last year, the turnout was rather small with a total of 78,121 citizens voting, with 54 per cent of them voting in favour of a three-fold increase in parking prices for the mentioned categories of vehicles, according to the website of the City of Paris.

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

The turnout at this year’s referendum was low considering that slightly more than five percent of Parisians decided to vote, while over seven percent voted in the previous referendum.

Despite the low number of citizens who voted, the result suggests that owners of heavier vehicles in Paris will now have to pay between 12 and 18 euros per hour to park, unless they park close to their homes. The price of parking in the central parts of the city will go up from 6 to 18 euros per hour, while in the rest of the city, it will increase from 4 to 12 euros.

Even if the referendum decision is upheld, the question remains whether owners of certain hybrid and electric cars should really have to pay a higher parking tariff because their cars exceed the weight limit. For hybrid vehicles, the increased tariff will apply only to those whose weight exceeds 1.6 tonnes, and for electric cars, the tariff will apply to those weighing more than two tonnes.

Milica Vučković