The French government plans to gradually phase out diesel as fuel for passenger cars and institute next year a system that would identify the most polluting vehicles, Prime Minister Manuel Valls told Automotive News. The identification system will rank vehicles according to the amount of pollution they release, thus allowing local authorities to limit city access for the dirtiest cars.
Valls remarked France has made a mistake in favoring the diesel engine, noting that they plan “progressively undo that, intelligently and pragmatically." It is estimated that around 80 percent of drivers in France use diesel-powered vehicles.
Valls disclosed that the government would implement state budget measures in 2015 that would try to cut the tax advantage of diesel fuel versus gasoline. The French government has already made an announcement of plans to increase so-called TICPE excise tax on diesel by 2 euro cents per liter.
Such measure would allow France to generate EUR807 million in tax-related revenues in 2015. According to Valls, France was working on plans to increase the number of beneficiaries of a subsidy for the conversion of old diesel engines in locations with anti-pollution plans.
Earlier this year, French Energy Minister Segolene Royal announced a grant of up to EUR10,000 ($13,500) in bonuses to drivers who scraps their diesel-powered vehicles to purchase electric versions.