As ban looms, the future is cloudy for cars in Paris

Sacré fumes!

Paris will begin banning older diesel-powered trucks and vans from the city this summer, and cars could be next.

According to Autocar, large trucks and buses built before September 2001 will be excluded from inside the city’s ring road starting in July, with cars and small trucks registered before 1996 and 1997 likely to follow next year.

It’s all part of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s plan to reduce smog-causing particulate emissions in the city, which are among the highest in Europe and nearly twice that of London, which is also planning to ban all but the cleanest vehicles from its streets in the coming years.

About 80 percent of the cars in France currently run on diesel, thanks to their high efficiency and tax incentives that keep the price of the fuel low. Hidalgo maintains that 42,000 people die in France annually as a result of the pollution, France24 reports.

To assist in the transition, the city will be providing incentives as high as 50 percent of the value of new vehicles and low cost loans to go with them, while promoting the car sharing programs and the expansion of a charging network for electric cars.

Not everyone is happy about the new rules, however. The Drivers’ Defense League called the plans “autophobic” and predicted 3 million cars will end up on the scrap heap, while The Connexion reports that motorcyclists, who may also see their pre-2000 bikes banned, have been rallying in front of City Hall, arguing that motorcycles are more efficient and create less traffic than cars, even if they don’t have the same pollution controls.