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Transportation Earth Technology

Paris To Test Banning SUVs In the City 509

thecarchik writes "Paris may be the first city to experiment with such a policy. Next year, it will begin to test restrictions on vehicles that emit more than a certain amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometer — the measure of a car's contribution to greenhouse gases. An official within the Parisian mayor's office, Denis Baupin, identified older diesel-engined cars and sport-utility vehicles as specific targets of the emissions limit. Residents and travelers have responded by buying thousands of electric cars, including the low-speed fiberglass G-Wiz — despite major safety concerns with the vehicle."
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Paris To Test Banning SUVs In the City

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  • Weather Alert (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bloodwine77 ( 913355 )
    Heavy smug clouds are developing over Paris. Seriously though, isn't the pollution just move upstream when it comes to electric cars? Or have there been recent improvements in that regard?
    • Re:Weather Alert (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @11:16PM (#34695066)

      IIRC, paris/france gets most of its energy from nuclear power. So limited upstream pollution.

      • Re:Weather Alert (Score:5, Informative)

        by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:28AM (#34695786)
        Wikipedia agrees [wikipedia.org]:

        Nuclear power is the primary source of electricity in France. In 2004, 425.8 TWh out of the country's total production of 540.6 TWh of electricity was from nuclear power (78.8%), the highest percentage in the world.

        Areva NC claims that, due to their reliance on nuclear power, France's carbon emissions per kWh are less than 1/10 that of Germany and the UK, and 1/13 that of Denmark, which has no nuclear plants. Its emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide have been reduced by 70% over 20 years, even though the total power output has tripled in that time.

    • Re:Weather Alert (Score:5, Insightful)

      by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @11:26PM (#34695136) Homepage Journal

      electric allows for energy source flexibility

      with a gas fueled car, when the saudis decide you are paying $5/ gallon so they can send more money to islamic militant causes, you have no choice. with electric, you can get your electricity from coal plants belching acid rain and CO2, yes, but at least you are only funding mining barons in west virginia. but your electricity can also be from nuclear, or solar, or hydroelectric, or geothermal, or tidal, or wind... or whatever. the whole point being, you can still drive the same car, you have energy independence, as an individual, and as a society. you don't have to worry what gas prices will be in 2011 as demand rises and supplies get deeper and deeper. you don't have to worry about soccer moms in SUVs, when they fill their fuel tanks, funding al qaeda or hugo chavez or russian neoimperialism or.. shiver... canada (relax canucks, its just a dumb joke)

      electric cars are just being smart and planning for the future. not that planning for the future is a concept many people are very familiar with. change makes people uncomfortable. well, brazil, and india and china are not shrinking economies, and the global economy is recovering. remember fuel prices before the economic collapse in 2008? if you don't you'll soon get a nasty reminder. buy an electric car now. you've been amply warned, don't be dumb

      • Re:Weather Alert (Score:5, Informative)

        by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @11:40PM (#34695222)

        with a gas fueled car, when the saudis decide you are paying $5/ gallon so they can send more money to islamic militant causes, you have no choice.

        If you're American, surely you mean 'when the Canadians decide you are paying $5/gallon so they can send more money to hockey teams and French speaking welfare cases'?

        You do realise that America gets twice as much oil from Canada as from Saudi, right?

        No, I guess not.

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          I guess you stopped reading that paragraph you quoted before you got to the last line eh?

        • Re:Weather Alert (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:51AM (#34695880)

          You do realise that America gets twice as much oil from Canada as from Saudi, right?

          Since oil is pretty much fungible, it really doesn't matter where "we" get it from, we still are contributing to the world-wide demand for oil which keeps the money flowing to the middle-east. In other words, if the US didn't get oil from Canada, current direct buyers of Saudi oil would be able to buy from Canada instead.

        • Re:Weather Alert (Score:4, Interesting)

          by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @03:09AM (#34696198)
          You do realise that America gets twice as much oil from Canada as from Saudi, right?

          Which is actually irrelevant to the price of oil. OPEC sets pricing (through setting production directly, which controls the supply directly which controls the pricing indirectly). Canada can either follow that pricing or sell the oil well below market pricing, losing money just to make the US happy. I don't like Scott Adams, but his comment (via Dogbert) regarding the definition of "fungible" was apropos.
    • Re:Weather Alert (Score:5, Informative)

      by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @11:58PM (#34695344)

      The big issue is that Paris sits in a river basin. On days without enough wind, the smog just sits over the city. It's pretty gnarly. Moving the pollution anywhere else is a big win because it becomes less localized, and impacts less people.

    • Re:Weather Alert (Score:5, Interesting)

      by javahead76 ( 1855422 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @12:04AM (#34695370)
      Electric "plants" are more efficient at producing energy than the combustion engines that cars use. I don't think there is anything recent about that.
  • How much carbon ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PPH ( 736903 )
    ... will producing all those additional 'city cars' people will need to buy consume?
    • Over the lifetime of the car, not much.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by 0123456 ( 636235 )

        Over the lifetime of the car, not much.

        We're not talking about people scrapping their fifteen year old SUV and buying a crappy 'city car', but having to buy a second car to drive in the city if they're not allowed to drive their SUV there.

    • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

      ... will producing all those additional 'city cars' people will need to buy consume?

      I think the most restricting factor will be the parking space for the residents of Paris - I imagine one can't afford to own multiple cars in Paris for this reason.

      New business idea: "long-term-parking combined with rent/switch between SUV/small-car" on the outskirts of Paris: SUV-owners visiting Paris will let their SUV in parking and rent a small car, residents of Paris will park their small car and rent and SUV when needed.
      This as a transition phase to a more extended "car pooling/sharing" scheme - I r

    • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @11:53PM (#34695292)

      ... will producing all those additional 'city cars' people will need to buy consume?

      If you live in Paris, you don't *need* a car, not now, not *ever*.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by iamacat ( 583406 )

        Does your definition of "you" include plumbers, gardeners, families with more than one small child per adult, handicapped, people with regular commute outside main train/bus routes?

        • by SwedishPenguin ( 1035756 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @02:47AM (#34696108)

          Regular commute outside the main train/bus routes?? Have you *ever* been to Paris? :P You'd be hard pressed to find a route not covered by metro or RER, not to mention buses..

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @05:26AM (#34696698)

          Does your definition of "you" include plumbers, gardeners, families with more than one small child per adult, handicapped, people with regular commute outside main train/bus routes?

          Sorry, but there are lots of good station wagons/estate cars that the handicapped and big families use. They don't drive SUVs. They never needed and paid the money for that pile of metal with storage capacity equalling the former mentioned cars. Gardeners and plumbers drive small vans or station wagons, both yield a better price/milage for the storage they can hold.

          People who already need a car and own one usually live outside town and park and switch to the metro before they get sucked in the traffic jam (You don't want to appear at random times for work, do you?). They usually own a small car or, if they have the money, a sports car. There is no room in the city you can't reach by public transport.

          For handicapped (they have a permit anyway) the renault kangoo with built in lift is one of the cars of choice. But in the end I think that the navigation systems need to be fixed. The short route isn't always the best one. I know smaller towns with a motorway around, but the main street is still considered the best way for transit (same speed limits). They just have to deal with less lanes, traffic lights and streetcars (Not to mention second line parking and so on) in town. Somebody should tune the little gadgets to stay out of the city if the target isn't in it.

        • by IrquiM ( 471313 )

          The definition of "you" is a generalization. He meant most people.

          Oh, and by the way, plumbers, gardeners, families with more than one small child per adult, handicapped, and people that commute outside main train/bus routes don't need an SUV. There are alternatives that can do the job better, with less pollution and higher return on money spent on fuel.

          Remember, Europe is not the same as US.

          And a final question - have you ever been to Paris and experienced the traveling in the city?

  • Not new. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @11:17PM (#34695072)
    Many cities in Italy ban general auto traffic in the core downtown, for example Firenze. They have camera, if you drive in downtown and don't have the proper permits, a VERY expensive ticket arrives in the mail.
    • Not really a big step forward from the many "Congestion" taxes that are out there. Try to drive a car anytime through the middle of London and see how much it costs you...
  • G-Wiz (Score:3, Informative)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @11:32PM (#34695176) Journal

    That's a completely useless article. There's basically no meaningful information until a footnote at the end that it's a rebadged, Indian made Reva.

  • I don't think this is a good idea. For example, I live in the Financial District of San Francisco, and find it obnoxious that some of my coworkers insist on commuting to work in their SUVs every day when BART runs trains to a stop two blocks from my office every 5 minutes during rush hour. On the other hand, I concede that there may be some circumstances where driving a large vehicle into the city might be justified. Why bar someone from bringing an SUV with six people in it, but permit someone to drive a s

    • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

      Why bar someone from bringing an SUV with six people in it, but permit someone to drive a slightly smaller vehicle carrying only one person?

      The thing that I found striking in TFA: the ban mentions "amount of CO2 per kilometer" only not "per km and per person transported". Like what? The public transportation in Paris doesn't use buses powered by Diesel engines?

    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @12:53AM (#34695634) Journal

      Really, show me ONE SUV that actually uses its space for the work commute. Oh okay, so you found one in ALL of France, big whoop. But I think that Americans just can't grasp the problem. Europe is SMALLER en the cities are just not designed with big cars in mind. For that matter most Europeans just don't get the American road system. The two areas work at a totally different scale. For instance, my own commute takes about 45 minutes... by bicycle, car OR train. Really. The travel time is NOT in the distance but in the waiting. The car gets stuck in all kinds of traffic jams, the train suffers delays on one of the most crowded rail networks in the world and of course you got to get to and from the train station by a bus service that doesn't connect and the bicycle... actually that one is pretty good a very straight line with just one big pothole with no lights around it.

      And SUV's are not just another car. Forget for a moment the type of driver inside of them who tend to be major assholes, two SUV's passing each other in a narrow street, and old european cities are nothing but narrow streets, and the cars typically slow down to pass each other. They take just that bit more space say a meter in a bumper to bumper traffic jams. 4 SUV's and you could have fitted a whole extra car in the extra space taken by a SUV. Parking is the same. The drivers feel safer so take more risks, not only does this make the risk similar again but the death toll on pedestrians and cyclist increases thanks to the SUV driver.

      London had the congestion charging and despite that fact that it was universally hated (or so the popular press tell us) it worked. The difference is staggering. But it wasn't popular. ANY law will have opponents. If you try to find a way to get anything done that won't upset anyone, you will never get anything done and THAT will REALLY upset people.

      You just want an excuse, because ONE SUV was once found to actually have a full load for a work commute, ALL SUV's should be allowed to drive with one person in congested city centers totally unfit for such large cars. NIMBY must be your middle name.

      Oh and a congestion tax would also hit low pollution vehicles. So if I drive a small electric car filled with passengers I get to pay the same as a SUV with just the driver. SMART!

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @11:46PM (#34695258) Homepage Journal

    Drivers in Paris park bumper to bumper and the way to get out of a parking spot is to ram the cars in front and behind of you until you have space to pull out. They drive these little light cars and the bumper bars (US people would say fenders) are all scuffed. My car has a tow bar so you couldn't do that but nobody where I went in Paris seems to use them.

    • by mlts ( 1038732 ) *

      Didn't a French carmaker address this by having a set of wheels that would drop down, shoulder the vehicle's weight, and allow the car to move sideways? I remember this because it was a relatively simple way to address parallel parking, as opposed to having a computer do it for you. This way, instead of playing the ramming game, it was a simple manner of scooting out in the street, retracting the wheels and driving off.

    • No, we call those bumpers as well. The fender is the body panel that wraps around the wheel well [wikipedia.com].

  • Bad Idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by benjamindees ( 441808 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @11:58PM (#34695338) Homepage

    CO2 per kilometer is a horrible metric. No biodiesel for them, then. It sounds like the point of this is to limit greenhouse gas emissions, but all it will really do is reduce fuel consumption and move the CO2 emission to other areas. That's what would happen in the US at least. We don't have as much nuclear power, and tend to consume more oil-based plastic goods than Europeans. Regardless, it's easy for well-intentioned regulations to have counterproductive effects.

    Take this as an example. I have a 2.5 ton diesel truck that is over 40 years old. It gets pretty terrible gas mileage. But it's entirely possible that it will last another 40 years. I use it once every six months or so on average. I could buy a new truck. Buying a new truck would mean thirty thousand dollars worth of CO2-intensive manufacturing, steel parts and such. The new truck wouldn't last as long, and would need to be replaced probably within the next 20 years.

    I could rent a truck instead. On average, that would cost about the same as the truck I already have, possibly more. Instead of driving directly to where I want to go, I would have to drive to the truck rental store, drive to where I want to go, drive home, drive back to the truck rental store, and then drive back home. And if I rent a truck, the proceeds would likely go to some employees and shareholders who use the money to increase their consumption of goods, food, gasoline and electricity all produced by emitting CO2 as well. So the net result is similar if not more CO2 usage.

    Central economic planning is harder than it might seem.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @12:00AM (#34695356)

    despite major safety concerns with the vehicle.

    if everyone's driving around in GWizes, Yarises, and Smart ForTwos, what safety problem?

  • ... I can feel the earth getting cooler by the minute! ... oh wait a sec

  • they're big polluters, what with all that idling. Then again, I'm in the States. Does France even have those abominations?
    • They have cunnincly replicated the drive-thru setup but when the little window opens a French man shoots you through the head, scoops out your liver and turns it into pate. It was widely protested in the EU as inhumane until it was pointed out only the Touristus Americanus falls into this trap. The American ambassador was asked for comments but he replied he couldn't answer the phone now because he was in the line at a drive-thru and hasn't been heard from since.

      Slashdot wishes it to be known that is does

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @12:18AM (#34695464)

    As a French man, reading the news every day, and living quite close to Paris, I've never heard about such a ban. neither have I heard about "thousands of electric vehicles" being suddenly bought by Paris' residents. Right now, French people are more interested in the end of the "prime à la casse", which is a financial bonus given for buying low emission vehicles, but we're talking gas powered cars, electric cars are nowhere to be seen on french roads and cities.

    Paris planned innovation is a system of shared self-service cars (probably electric), which can be used for a few hours for a moderate cost, similar to what has existed for years for bicycles ('vélib', this has been a major success for Paris' mayor).

  • Safety (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Andy Smith ( 55346 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:29AM (#34695800)

    The safety issue really concerns me. I don't want people being forced by legislation to buy smaller, weaker cars, for city driving, because most people can only afford one car so they'll also be taking those same small, weak cars out on fast roads.

    I'm a news photographer and I often attend accident scenes. As a rule, whenever there is an SUV involved, the occupants of the SUV survive and the occupants of the car _all_ die.

    Renault Megane vs Range Rover. Both people in the Megane killed. Minor injuries in the Range Rover.
    http://www.meejahor.com/wp-content/uploads/FatalcollisiononB9006CantraywoodtoCroyro_A156/FatalcollisionB9006CantraywoodtoCroyroad2.jpg [meejahor.com]

    Vauxhall Corsa vs Mitsubishi Shogun. Both people in the Corsa killed. Injuries in the Shogun.
    http://www.meejahor.com/wp-content/uploads/Newspaperphotosfromthelastfewmonths_CD67/A9Dalwhinniefatalcollision5of8.jpg [meejahor.com]

    Vauxhall Astra vs Mitsubishi Shogun. All three people in the Astra killed. Minor injuries in the Shogun.
    http://www.meejahor.com/wp-content/uploads/818q3025.jpg [meejahor.com]

    • Re:Safety (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Frankie70 ( 803801 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @02:00AM (#34695924)

      I'm a news photographer and I often attend accident scenes. As a rule, whenever there is an SUV involved, the occupants of the SUV survive and the occupants of the car _all_ die.

      That can be considered as case for banning SUVs, right?
      If not for the SUV, the other car occupants would not have died, maybe.

    • Re:Safety (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @03:27AM (#34696292) Homepage

      So ... the answer is, what? Everybody should drive an SUV? Then the soccer moms will want something bigger because they want to be 'safer than the other guy'?

      PS: That's only impacts with other vehicles, overall SUVs are not any safer, any kind of swerving or loss of concentration is much more likely to kill you in an SUV.

      "According to NHTSA data, SUV's and pickups are at a disadvantage in single-vehicle accidents (such as when the driver falls asleep, or loses control swerving around a deer), which comprise 43% of fatal accidents, with more than double the chance of rolling over. This risk relates closely to overall US motor vehicle fatality data, showing that SUVs and pickups generally have a higher fatality rate than cars of the same manufacturer"

      source [wikipedia.org]

  • by PatPending ( 953482 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @02:10AM (#34695962)

    From Popular Mechanics magazine, January 1905 [google.com], p. 119:

    Many of the mail wagons in Paris are now electric-propelled vehicles, weighing 4,200 pounds, and carry a load of 1,100 pounds of mail. Storage batteries weighing 1,320 pounds furnish current sufficient to last for a 37-mile trip. The Motor Age says the new wagons carry twice as much mail as the former horse-drawn vehicles and travel much faster.

  • by Archon-X ( 264195 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @03:06AM (#34696188)

    ..as a 5+ year resident of paris, I recall seeing a Hummer twice - and it was the same one.
    Paris has never been a city of big cars, simply because you can't drive them - the streets are too narrow, parking becomes completely impossible, and they're generally not at all favoured as cars.

    While it's true there's a creep of luxury 'smaller' 4WD (Porche Cayenne etc) - being new, they're generally more efficent than the 2-stroke mopeds buzzing around, for example.

    Such a ban is as much to facilitate traffic flow than save the environment, I believe.

    (And PS: there hasn't been an 'rush of electric car purchases' - smaller cars have always been popular.)

  • by eulernet ( 1132389 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @04:07AM (#34696436)

    Residents and travelers have responded by buying thousands of electric cars, including the low-speed fiberglass G-Wiz — despite major safety concerns with the vehicle."

    No, residents have not responded by buying thousands of electric cars, because this decision is NEW.

    Instead, french people have bought thousands of electric cars, because there is a tax gift of 1500 euros when you replace your old vehicle with a new electric or hybrid one.
    This tax reduction will disappear on the 1st of January 2011, that's why people rush to buy a new car, especially in Paris.

    BTW, using a SUV in Paris is a crazy idea, since it's perceived as a lack of respect for other drivers. Streets in Paris are very small, parking places are very difficult to find for normal vehicles, and impossible for larger ones.
    Possessing a SUV is like saying: hey, I've got a ton of money, since my car will suck a lot of gas, and I have my own private parking for both my work and my home.
    Driving in Paris requires a lot of attention and energy, since it's very tiring, and drivers are very nervous, and are not friendly when driving.

  • by Voline ( 207517 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @04:15AM (#34696466)

    In 2005 a clandestine group known as Les Dégonflés, The Deflated, began a campaign of sabotage [commondreams.org] against SUVs in the City.

    "Under cover of night, Marrant's troops target Jeep Cherokees, Porsche Cayennes and other four-wheel-drive vehicles parked on the tree-lined avenues and cobblestoned lanes of wealthy neighborhoods. The eco-guerrillas deflate tires without damaging them, smear doors with mud and paste handbills on windshields proclaiming that the vehicles are dangerous, polluting behemoths that do not belong in the city."

    And now, far from criminalizing their behavior, the government of the City is going to ratify it. Lessons to be learned, here: Direct Action gets the goods.

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @07:33AM (#34697232) Homepage Journal

    SUVs are trucks. They get truck tax breaks, truck emissions loopholes, and they're the big, powerful cars we call trucks. But somehow they do not require the truck license to drive them, which requires taking a different test for handling bigger, more powerful cars in some trickier maneuvers.

    If all those soccer moms, yuppies and other people driving a car too big for them had to get a truck license instead of the drivers license they already got in high school, most of them would not. And there would be a whole lot less SUVs driving around. And most of their drivers, when they cut us off, would at least have the skills to do so more safely.

    Such a simple change: require the truck license to drive the truck. Saving lives and sanity, not to mention fuel supplies.

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