France to offer up to EUR10,000 for diesel-to-EV switchers

Article by Andrew Christian, on February 10, 2015

The French government will, albeit gradually, align taxes on diesel and gasoline as well as offer incentives to urge consumers to shift to electric vehicles. According to Energy Minister Segolene Royal, France will provide an incentive of up to EUR10,000 ($11,422) to buyers of an electric car to replace an old diesel unit starting April.

Royal said that the government wants to get rid of diesel cars more than 13 years old and have no filters, adding that these measures will make it "harder and harder" to use them. In December, the government announced in December that it will hike the so-called TICPE excise tax on diesel by 2 euro cents per liter.

Since taxes are lower on diesel than on gasoline, this has encouraged consumers to purchase diesel cars. Environmental groups have been urging the French government to align the taxes. French carmakers have supported the measures, as they would encourage consumers to their old vehicles with newer ones.

Royal said that measures would also help reduce smog, as 60 percent of the French population “breathes air that isn't healthy." Paris and other large cities in France regularly issue warnings about air pollution, which are caused partly by particulates from diesel fumes. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo recently announced measures targeted at phasing out diesel vehicles by the end of the decades.

French companies PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Renault as well as other European carmakers are marketing new diesel-powered vehicles as environmentally friendly that could travel longer distances than their petrol counterparts and are less polluting than older models.

Royal said there is a need to set realistic goals because “there are industries that make diesel cars,” adding that there are jobs involved.

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