Dec 20, 2019 - Energy & Environment

France raises pollution tax on large vehicles

A car turning a corner in Kiev.
Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

France is aiming to lower carbon emissions by raising its pollution tax on large vehicles with a new law adopted by parliament earlier this week, Bloomberg reports.

By the numbers: Cars that emit carbon dioxide above a certain threshold will be subject to a 20,000 euro penalty — more than the current fine of 12,500 euros. France's finance ministry is projecting 50 million euros annually in revenue from the tax — those yields will be used to support automakers' shift to cleaner energy.

The government is meanwhile looking to incentivize the purchase of electric vehicles, per Bloomberg.

Between the lines: The new legislation comes as the European Union prepares to phase in new emissions standards that will fine automakers if their yearly sales exceed an average carbon limit.

The bottom line: "The measures show policy makers are still finding their way on how best to back a shift to cleaner cars," Bloomberg writes.

Our thought bubble: European regulations are tougher than the U.S., and they're coming much faster. This is why the French are enacting these measures, aimed at forcing the shift to electric vehicles.

  • If you give people an incentive to buy an EV and a disincentive to buy an SUV, you can really push the market quickly. Substituting one for the other may not make much of a difference.
  • Eventually, you should be able to take the EV incentives away, but not yet. The market is still in its infancy.

Go deeper: Electric vehicles are coming, but no one is sure how fast

Go deeper