After months of negotiations, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced plans to ban every car built before 1997 from entering the city limits starting on July 1. The controversial measure is presented as a way to curb the city’s air pollution problem.
Parisian drivers will be given stickers (officially called “air quality certificates”) that correspond to their car’s level of emissions, according to French newspaper Le Figaro. Affixed to the windshield of every car registered in the French capital, these stickers will help law enforcement officials tell whether or not a car is allowed to drive in Paris. Ignoring the ban will initially cost motorists €35, but the fine will quickly go up to €68.
The ban applies to both gasoline- and diesel-powered cars. However, pre-1997 models only need to stay out of Paris between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and only during the week. In other words, it will still be possible to drive an older car in Paris at night, or on the weekend.
The city hall projects that the ban will affect about 500,000 cars, a figure that lumps together top-dollar classics like a 1962 Porsche 356 with aging econoboxes such as a 1994 Peugeot 205. Unsurprisingly, a class-action lawsuit has already been filed against the government by motorists who believe the government should help them buy a car manufactured after 1997. Motorcycle owners and classic car owners are both planning to stage various protests in the coming weeks.
Parisians who invest in a late-model car might not be allowed to drive it for very long. The ban will gradually become stricter in the coming years, and only cars built after 2010 will be allowed on the city’s streets in 2020.