The bottom line is that cash incentives via the tax system are pretty much the only way to change behaviour. Appealing to the better nature of individuals is doomed.
French car tax to spur green upheaval [FT]
France is to slap an annual green tax on high-emission cars, such as sports utility vehicles, and extend punitive taxes to more environmentally damaging products in an attempt to revolutionise consumer behaviour and combat climate change.
Jean-Louis Borloo, ecology minister, said on Tuesday that the government’s carrot-and-stick “bonus-malus” tax system was proving successful and would be accelerated. The aim is to cut taxes further on environmentally friendly products while raising them on the most harmful products. “This will be a revolution. We must impose a fair ecological price,” he said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper.
From the start of the year, the government has introduced bonuses for consumers who buy environmentally friendly vehicles and turn in cars more than 15 years old. These bonuses range from €200 ($316, £158) for cars that emit 121g to 130g of carbon dioxide per kilometre to €5,000 for electric cars.
But the government also penalises those who buy heavily polluting cars, charging as much as €2,600 for the largest SUVs. The new annual tax, which the government suggests could amount to about 10 per cent of the original charge, will apply to the most heavily polluting new cars sold from the beginning of next year. The government estimates it will affect about 1 per cent of French cars.