Government ponders cheap green car loans

Smoke coming from car exhaust
Smoke coming from car exhaust

Less well-off could benefit from low-interest, or even zero-interest, loans to buy greener cars

The government could offer low-interest - or even zero-interest - loans to less well-off families in France to help them buy less polluting vehicles.

The proposal was suggested by LREM MP Amélie de Montchalin, who said that - even with government offers, buying a more modern vehicle was beyond the means of many people.

"We are doing our utmost to support the French: following the concerns of the gilets jaunes about access to credit to buy a clean car, we are asking Olivia Gregoire and the deputies of the Marching Republic for the banks to get involved with us," Ms de Montchalin said.

"The first step may be complicated to change vehicles. Yes, the car is essential for many. Yes, we are listening and working on proposals to make it easier to have the first euros needed to cross this first step," added Olivia Gregoire, a member of the Commission des Finances, a parliamentary committee that scrutinises public spending.

"The work is underway with Bercy, the French Banking Federation (FBF) and the institutions," she added. "We are working on the outlines of the proposal and are defending the idea of an adapted rate to help French people acquire clean vehicles," says the member of the Finance Committee at the National Assembly.

"With public money, we have done everything we can to encourage and help the French to acquire clean vehicles, in particular through the enhanced conversion premium," an LREM spokesman said. "The problem for some French people is still to finance the vehicles that are the subject of this premium.

"We have therefore initiated a process of reflection with the banks to find a suitable banking facility. The solution could be low-interest loans or long-term leasing followed by the purchase of the car," adds the majority representative.

In the days leading up to the first of the gilets jaunes protests, the government announced a number of measures to help poorer people change vehicles, including increasing a premium paid for those updating older cars to ones that are less polluting.

Ecology Minister François de Rugy recently said that a €4,000 grant available for some looking to change to a less polluting vehicle, could be increased by up to €2,000 for less well-off families who have to drive a lot.

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