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High-Emissions Vehicle Tax Increases 25% in France, Incentives on Cleaner Options Lagging

Renault Fluence, A Zero Emissions Electric Vehicle
Renault Fluence, A Zero Emissions Electric Vehicle

In an effort to clear the air in France, France started taxing high-emissions vehicles. The gradually-increasing tax is designed to convince buyers to look toward cleaner options.

The tax on high-emissions vehicles was established in 2008 and, for the most part, has been successful, increasing the adoption of cleaner vehicles. On Tuesday, the tax rate for a new high-emissions vehicle jumped from €6,000 to €8,000 [approximately $81,100 to $10,800] a 25% increase. This increased tax will surely get the attention of car buyers this week as they walk into dealerships, but is a penalty enough to move buyers toward cleaner options and clear the air in great French cities, like Paris?

The news article, which appeared in LesEchos, brings up a point that the tax plan doesn’t cover. A tax on high-emissions vehicles, a penalty, does work for some, but without a corresponding incentive on clean vehicles, does the law go far enough to encourage adoption of cleaner vehicles? It does make sense to tax high-emissions vehicles, which will push buyers toward cleaner conventional options, but without a corresponding incentive on hybrid and electric vehicles, France could be missing out on the opportunity to push adoption of the cleanest options.

For now, the law favors low-emissions conventional diesel vehicles, but France is planning to make adjustments to the penalty/incentive landscape. The expense of low-emissions hybrid and electric vehicles is, in a way, its own penalty, similar to the artificially-induced tax on the high-emissions vehicles. An incentive is going to be needed to encourage people to get into the cleanest vehicles that France has to offer.

Image © Wikimedia Commons

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