The air quality in Paris is among the worst in Europe. It's so bad that last year the city banned cars one day to try and bring down dangerous levels of smog. Under Paris' new mayor, banning certain cars in certain areas will be the new normal in a few years.
The UK's Autocar reports on developments with a radical smog-reduction plan set to begin in Paris this summer. Starting July 1, coaches, buses, large trucks and other big diesel vehicles registered before September 2001 will be banned from driving in central Paris, but they can still use the Périphérique, the giant ring road that circles the city and separates it from the suburbs.
Also banned: cars registered before the end of 1996, vans and light trucks registered before 1997, and motorcycles and motorbikes from before 2000. That's a lot of vehicles.
Things will get even stricter over the next five years. By 2020, the only private cars allowed to drive on Paris streets will have to be ones registered after 2011, and motorcycles registered after 2015.
Not surprisingly, the French are pissed about the plan, which according to English-language newspaper The Connexion was not put up for a vote but will come into effect via existing energy laws.
There was already one huge protest by French motorcycle and motorbike riders, and one drivers' organization said the plan would lead to three-million vehicles being scrapped. It's also being slammed by MPs who represent people in the Paris suburbs and don't have easy access to public transport.
France24 says the Parisian government is taking steps to help people get around, like reducing public transportation prices and the cost of enrolling in the city's growing EV car-sharing program. Property owners are also encouraged to add electric car-charging points and secure bike shelters.
But the plan is also slammed as one designed to bolster France's domestic car industry, which has been flagging in recent years. From Autocar again:
The French government has already suggested it could offer incentives of up to €10,000 (around £7435) to get the owners of older diesel vehicles to switch to electric cars such as the Renault Zoe.
Any new scrappage scheme or low-interest loans aimed at getting drivers out of older cars would also provide a boost for models with new-generation small-capacity turbo petrol engines. Peugeot, Citroen and Renault have all recently launched such down-sized petrol engines.
Paris isn't the first place to try this plan. Berlin banned cars from the city center five years ago, but the French plan is much more aggressive.
It's going to be an interesting experiment, and I'm eager to see its effect on reducing pollution, not to mention traffic congestion. I'm just glad I'm not a participant.