France to tax gas guzzlers

The French Government has announced plans to tax gas-guzzling cars and hand out cash bonuses to those who choose greener vehicles.

Environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo revealed that drivers who buy a car with high carbon emissions will face a one-off tax of up to Euro 2,600 when they register their new vehicle.

Motorists who choose small, fuel-efficient cars could receive bonuses of up to Euro 1,000 – with an extra Euro 300 if they also scrap a car more than 15 years old.

The system, which ministers hope will be in place by next year, is expected to be self-funding, with the money from taxes being used to fund the bonuses.

Mon. Borloo said the system would “reduce the price of buying ecological vehicles, make consumers more aware of their responsibilities, accelerate the renewal of cars on the road and stimulate manufacturers’ technological innovation”.

The taxes will start at Euro 200 for a car emitting between 161 and 165g of CO2 per kilometre, rising to Euro 750 for between 166 and 200g of CO2 and Euro 1,600 for between 201 and 250g of CO2.

The highest penalty of 2,600 will be reserved for cars emitting more than 250g of CO2, which ministers say will only affect around 1% of the new cars bought.

Only 25% of new car purchases are expected to be hit by the taxes.

Drivers who choose a new car with less than 100g of CO2 per kilometre will benefit from the highest bonus of Euro 1,000.

This is reduced to Euro 700 for vehicles between 101 and 120g, such as the Toyota Prius and a number of small French cars such as the Citroen C2 and C3 1.4 HDi models and the Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 80.

Vehicles with between 121 and 130g of CO2 will earn their owners a Euro 200 payout and cars with between 131 and 160g will not be affected.

Kate Martin

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