SUV-Owners, flaunt your parking tickets!

Paris, like all cities, is its citizenry. And Parisians have voted that SUVs, the go-to motor vehicle for both the wealthy and the aspirational, will have to pay three times the parking fee of standard cars. 54.6% of voters – about 5.7% of registered voters of the city were vocal enough about SUV treatment on Paris’ roads to come out and vote – chose to impose special parking fees on these big, bigger polluting cars. This is part of a drive to cut down air pollution and mitigate climatic damage. Citizens of places like Delhi happy to keep choking on fumes must be wondering, ‘Paris? Air pollution?’

Not everyone in the capital of the country where Thomas Piketty lives is happy. Lobby group 40 Millions d’Automobilistes believes raising SUV parking fees is the work of an ‘ultra-urban (sic) and anti-car minority’. The fact that paying a sort of ‘sin tax’ should not be a problem for rich SUV-owning Parisians is apparent. But the French have a history of this sort of thing. Post-revolutionary France imposed a tax on wigs. Like SUVs, wigs were worn as a mark of HNI-ess and social status. Wig-wearers, though, made the higher tax into a show of wealth, happy to pay extra so as to signal to fellow Parisians without elaborate headgear that they were rich. The same approach could apply to SUV-owners. Flaunt your parking tickets to show you’re loaded.


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