Parking tax hike for gas guzzlers

Stephen Beard Oct 25, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: SUV owners take note: Over in London there’s a plan to fight climate changea€¦with a parking tax. The more CO2 you spew out, the more you pay. Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports.

STEPHEN BEARD: In many parts of this overcrowded city, residents have to pay to park on the street outside their homes. Some in the affluent borough of Richmond could soon be paying more for that privilege.

As much as $1,000 more a year if they drive an SUV or some other gas-guzzler. Households with more than two cars will also be hit with an additional 50 percent surcharge. Councillor David Trigg says this is isn’t a revenue-raising exercise. He believes it will change the residents’ behavior:

DAVID TRIGG: I think it will make them aware of the wider implications of C02 emissions and what their cars are doing. And when they do come to change their car it will be part of a lifestyle choice. And they’ll think “I can not only save some money, but I can benefit the environment.”

Squeaky clean residents with an electric car or a hybrid will get their parking free. The polluters, meanwhile, will face a 200-percent hike in their charges. Motoring lobbyists are not happy. Paul Watters says the new charge will unfairly penalize working families:

PAUL WATTERS: Families use larger cars and many ordinary cars will be swept up in this. Many households need two cars as well. And to pay a really disproportionately high penalty on that second car is unfair.

But this could be a whiff of things to come. London already levies a congestion charge of $15 a day for anyone that takes their vehicle into the capital. There are plans to push that up to $50 for anyone driving an SUV.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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