Cities Consider Higher Parking Fees for SUVs to Reduce Traffic Congestion and Pollution

In recent years, major global cities have been grappling with the multifaceted challenges posed by urbanization, pollution, and traffic congestion. One strategy gaining prominence in metropolitan areas across the world is the implementation of increased parking fees specifically targeting SUVs. Paris, London, New York City, and San Francisco have all taken steps to address the implications of SUVs on urban life.

The controversial proposal by these to increase parking fees for SUVs has garnered conflicting responses from residents, some agreeing that the larger vehicles have no place in inner cities, others claiming they are necessary for larger families. 


In 2022, Paris announced that it would be increasing parking fees for SUVs by 50%. The city said that the move was necessary to discourage people from driving SUVs, which take up more space and produce more pollution than smaller cars. The new parking fees for SUVs will come into effect on January 1, 2024. The cost of parking for an SUV in Paris will be €4.50 per hour, up from €3 per hour. This is the same rate that is currently charged for vans and trucks. 

SUV owners can face high parking fees

The city hopes that the higher parking fees will help to reduce traffic congestion and pollution in Paris. Larger and heavier than cars, SUVs take up more space on the road. They also produce more pollution, both in terms of emissions and noise. The city hopes that by making it more expensive to drive SUVs, people will be less likely to do so, which will help to reduce congestion, pollution and improve the overall quality of life in the inner city. 

The decision has been met with mixed reactions. Some people support the measure, arguing that it is necessary to discourage people from driving SUVs and to keep Paris streets pedestrian friendly. Others oppose the measure, arguing that it is unfair to SUV drivers, many of which are family vehicles. 


In 2023, London announced that it would also be conducting a consultation on the possibility of increasing parking fees for SUVs. The consultation will run for six weeks, and the city will be looking for feedback from residents and businesses on the proposal. 

Here are some additional details about the proposed changes:

  • The new parking fees would apply to all SUVs, regardless of their size or emissions rating.

  • The cost of parking for an SUV would be doubled, from £2 per hour to £4 per hour.

  • The new parking fees would be introduced in phases, starting with the most congested areas of the city.

  • The city would also introduce a number of exemptions to the new parking fees, such as for disabled drivers and residents of the city.

San Franciso 

San Francisco has been charging higher parking fees for SUVs since 2018. The city's Department of Parking and Traffic (DPT) implemented the policy in an effort to reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

Under the policy, SUVs are charged a premium of $2 per hour for parking in metered spaces. This means that the cost of parking for an SUV is $4 per hour, while the cost of parking for a car is $2 per hour.

The policy applies to all SUVs, regardless of their size or emissions rating. There are a few exemptions to the policy, such as for disabled drivers and residents of the city.

The DPT has said that the policy has been successful in reducing traffic congestion and pollution in San Francisco. A study by the city found that the policy led to a 3% reduction in traffic congestion and a 2% reduction in pollution.


Amsterdam is set to follow suit with government bodies highlighting the scarcity of inner city space and the importance of leaving this to residents: 

“Public space is scarce and it is not a mad idea to ask more money for cars that take up more room,” Melanie van der Horst, city chief of transport "As yet, there are no concrete plans, but we are going to look if this can also be done in Amsterdam.”

The coming months will likely reveal the extent to which such measures align with the city's vision for a progressive, sustainable, and efficiently managed urban future.

Meanwhile, Brussels officials have taken their contemplation even further, entertaining the prospect of an outright ban on SUVs within the city limits. 

Of course, this raises questions if larger EV vehicles will also be subject to high parking fees. If one of the main factors of the increased fees, one would assume this applies to all larger vehicles, regardless of weather they are electric or otherwise. 

What do you think about cities considering higher parking fees for SUVs? Do you think it is a fair measure? Let us know in the comments below!