Paris Looking To Ban Classics and Clunkers From City Streets


  • 2012 Renault Zoe Front 3/4

    2012 Renault Zoe Front 3/4

    If the Paris mayor has his way, only newer cars like the 2012 Renault Zoe would be seen on city streets. | November 16, 2012

Just the Facts:
  • Paris unveiled radical new proposals to ban classic cars and clunkers from city streets by September 2014 in a bid to cut noise and pollution.
  • Cars more than 17 years old and motorcycles built before 2004 would be outlawed from the French capital if the proposals go ahead.
  • Trucks and buses more than 18 years old are also on the controversial new hit list as prepared by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe.

PARIS — Classic car owners in France are up in arms over sensational new proposals to ban their cars from Paris streets by September 2014.

If the Socialist mayor of Paris, Bernard Delanoe, gets his wish, any cars built before 1995 would be outlawed from the city streets.

So would motorcycles built before 2004 and trucks and buses more than 18 years old.

The proposals, presented to the city council this week, are part of a grand scheme to cut noise and pollution in the French capital, yet have already been attacked for being politically motivated and almost impossible to enforce.

The Parisian mayor, who is famous (and popular) for being vigorously anti-car, has already undertaken a series of measures to make life increasingly difficult for people with cars inside the city center.

But these latest proposals go much further and, if implemented, would mean classics such as the Citroen 2CV and Renault 4, as well as chugging Vespa motorcycles would become a thing of the past in the glamorous French capital.

The hit list also calls for the speed limit in the city center to be lowered to just 19 mph, while on the périphérique, the crowded main ring road around Paris, the limit would be cut from 50 mph to 44 mph.

Central to all this is the plan to turn Paris into a Low Emission Zone, cutting emissions by 30 percent by 2015.

Closer examination of the situation, however, reveals that many old cars have already disappeared from Parisian streets thanks to a successful "clunker" campaign of a few years back. Also, the cars affected would likely amount to about 3 percent of the cars in the capital so the overall effect would be negligible.

The proposals have been attacked for affecting "poor" motorists and for being "antisocial." Even the Green Party, which normally supports the left wing Parisian mayor, has come out against it.

Critics have also pointed out that the real cause of city pollution in France is the prominence of diesel cars, but taking decisive action there would be truly politically unpalatable and in the past has caused mass protests and strikes.

Overall, the feeling so far is that the "clunker ban" in Paris is some kind of political posturing ahead of the 2014 mayoral elections and will likely be defeated or at least watered down.

In the meantime, one of the nicest initiatives is a group of classic car enthusiasts who have put up many photos of cars that would be banned.

Edmunds says: It's not much of a stretch to imagine this idea going viral and ending up in some U.S. cities.

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