Further to a commitment to ban diesel-powered cars from its streets within the next 10 years and increasing fuel duties on diesel, Paris trialed a new measure to cut air pollution for one day yesterday, 6 December. Under this initiative, only cars with vehicle license plates ending in an even number were permitted in the city for the day. A decision will be taken as to whether this measure will be extended and/or repeated.
Although dramatic traffic-reducing measures such as this can have a positive effect in the short term, it benefits multi-car households as they simply use whichever car is permitted in the city on any given day. Although traffic will be significantly reduced, it will undoubtedly not be halved. In fact, measures such as this can be entirely counter-productive as they may even lead some households to purchase additional cars. There are signs that people bought more cars in Rome when similar measures were introduced, as discussed in the Mobility Intelligence report.
France has an acute problem when it comes to cutting air pollution, however, as diesel still commands more than 50% of new car sales. The domestic car industry is therefore geared up to satisfy this demand. The French government is therefore likely to roll out an array of measures to tackle air pollution and although they will be effective to varying degrees, small petrol and alternative fuel cars certainly stand to benefit, both in terms of new car sales and residual values.
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