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France To Ban Classic Cars From Capital To Clean The Air

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Citroen DS

Citroen DS

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For some, the image of a classic Citroën DS passing along the Champs-Élysées couldn't be much more French if a man in a stripy top and beret walked past swinging a chain of onions.

But soon, that image could be shattered as Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe is set to introduce plans that ban all pre-1997 cars from the city's streets, to curb pollution.

The plans have angered classic car fans, whose vehicles make up only 3 percent of the vehicles on Parisian roads--around 365,000 cars, according to Reuters.

It would take some of France's most distinctive vehicles off the streets, including iconic vehicles like the aforementioned Citroën DS, the 2CV, the Peugeot 205 GTI hot hatchback and the dependable Renault 4L--among dozens of others.

Others complain that it would prevent those who are simply unable to afford anything newer from driving around the city.

In 2010, Paris trialled a ban of gas-guzzling off-road vehicles from its streets.

The latest scheme has been described as "another hairbrained idea" to please ecologists and wealthy Parisians, by Claude Fauconnier, vice-president of the French Friends of the 2CV Club.

The mayor, whose previous initiatives have included Paris's bike-sharing scheme, Velib' (partner scheme of the Autolib' electric car sharing service), has been previously accused of turning the capital into a "playground for the rich".

Delanoe defends the move, which he says "is for our citizens - it's a public health battle and we've been fighting since 2001 to try and make the air here more breathable."

Several other cities around the world have introduced similar initiatives in recent years. The Emirate of Dubai has banned all cars older than 20 years from its roads to reduce pollution, while cars driving into the German city of Frankfurt have to meet a minimum European emissions standard.

If the Parisian proposal gains ministerial approval in January, it will come into force from 2014.

Will banning France's iconic classics from the capital city be the answer to Paris pollution? Or is the move simply a token gesture which will make things difficult for ordinary citizens?

Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

[Hat tip: Kurt Ernst]

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Comments (5)
  1. Maybe rather than "banning" them outright, it should restrict the time/day that it can be in the capital and the number of KM it can drive per year...
     
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  2. I don't like this idea, especially if this particular "Problem" makes up less than 3% of traffic on Parisian streets. It smacks of laziness, picking on a minority group when the real pollution problem is obviously coming from the overwhelming majority. Surely a better idea would be to offer more electric buses and bike access.
     
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  3. To be fair, that 3% may well represent 10 or 15% of the problem. Vintage cars may lack catalytic converters, etc, so their contribution is disproportionate.

    The percentage of targeted vehicles alone is irrelevant; how much they pollute is what matters here.
    Determining this by manufacturing year alone though will be rejected as unjust and arbitrary.

    Paris mayor's other ideas (EV + bike sharing, on top of an already good public transportation system) seemed better thought out...
     
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  4. How about just a national limit on C02 emissions? That way people who drive supercars and gas-guzzlers are also penalized. Seems to me like that would have a bigger effect than removing 3% of paris vehicles.

    In addition to this, how about laws for taxis? For example, forcing cabs to choose vehicles that get over 30mpg (Here in Montreal, cab drivers are increasingly choosing Prius Vs for their size, practicality and fuel economy...why not do the same over there?)
     
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  5. Why would you limit CO2? Wouldn't it be easier to just quit drinking the Coolaid!
     
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