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Licences, speed: What French president candidates are offering drivers

From opposing views on low-emission zones, aid for electric car purchases, and investment in public transport, we look at the candidates’ latest pledges

Cars driving on the Champs-Elysees in Paris at night

11 out of the 12 presidential candidates have made pledges on fuel, vehicles, driving, and roads Pic: Ioan Panaite / Shutterstock

The 12 presidential candidates’ plans for the automobile sector have come in for scrutiny in recent days, with 11 of them pledging to reduce taxes for drivers, fight against pollution, and help boost the industry.

There are around 40 million drivers in France. 

With the rising cost of fuel, parking, and environmental concerns high on the agenda, industry groups La Ligue de défense des conducteurs and la Filière automobile et mobilité questioned the candidates on their plans for the sector.

Read more: Fuel prices: eight questions on 18c refund starting in France in April
Read more: Recap: how to benefit from France’s 18 cent-per-litre fuel discount

We have listed the candidates in the order of who has the most signatures (parrainages). 

Valérie Pécresse - (Les Républicains, right wing)

  • “Pro-car”, against the idea of seeing motorists as “cash cows"

  • In favour of maintaining individual cars

  • Wants to stagger low-emission zones 

  • Calls for hybrid vehicles to be continued after 2035

  • In favour of zero-interest aid for purchase of electric or hybrid vehicle

  • Wants to create a car-hire scheme for €1 per day to help encourage people back to work

  • Aims to bring more vehicle production back to France in partnership with other countries 

  • Wants to create a French centre for research and development of new technologies 

Emmanuel Macron (La République en Marche, centre-right)

  • Opposed to capping fuel prices

  • Calls for emergency measures to be in place for poorest households who rely on fuel

  • Has discussed possible review clause to allow some combustion vehicles past 2035

  • Hybrid vehicles to be allowed at the same time as electric vehicles

  • Aid to make electric vehicles more affordable

Anne Hidalgo (Parti Socialiste, centre-left)

  • Intends to continue in France what she has already started in Paris to reduce the number of polluting cars

  • Diesel cars to be phased out in Paris by 2024. 

  • Wants to develop charging stations and hydrogen stations. 

  • Will release a budget of €5billion to encourage retrofitting and leasing of electric cars

  • “Floating” tax to compensate for rising fuel costs, so taxes will go down if prices rise, and vice versa

  • Pledges to require oil companies not to pay dividends to shareholders

  • Aims to comply with IPCC recommendations of investing 6% of GDP (€140billion) into eco-friendly solutions (compared to 2%, or €47billion today)

  • In favour of low-emission zones

  • Free driving licences for under-25s

  • Wants to invest €100million in improving cycle routes

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (La France Insoumise, left-wing)

  • Anti-SUV, in favour of fines for heavy, polluting vehicles

  • Wants to freeze petrol prices at €1.40 per litre

  • Will ask for major oil groups to compensate for this

  • Wants to reduce the public’s reliance on private vehicles

  • Wants to end low emission zones “in their current format”

  • Plans to develop retrofitting to make existing cars more eco-friendly

  • Aims to create a French supply chain for critical parts

Eric Zemmour (Reconquête, far-right)

  • Wants to cap fuel prices at €1.80 per litre

  • Will abolish low-emission zones

  • Extend contrôle technique validity from two years to three

  • Against contrôle technique for motorbikes

  • Will replace points-based licence rules with suspension in case of dangerous driving, and heavier fines for drivers

Yannick Jadot (Europe Écologie Les Verts, Green)

  • Intends to move away from combustion engines, and ban them from sale by 2030

  • Wants major development into retrofitting of regular vehicles to electric models

  • Suggests creation of car-sharing centres for electric vehicles at entrance to rural areas

  • Wants mixed transport plans for urban centres, including better public transport and investment in shared vehicles such as cars, scooters, and bicycles

  • Subsidy of €1,000 per year for workers to fund travel

  • Suggests “climate freedom pass” for young people aged 16 and over, to give unlimited access to all modes of transport

Jean Lassalle (Résistons, anti-establishment)

  • Wants to maintain diesel and petrol in parallel with development of alternative fuels

  • Calls for a return to 90 km/h

  • Wants suspension of the points system

  • Calls for reduction of the licence suspension period from 36 months to 6 months

  • More training and help for workers who will inevitably have less work when combustion moves to electric

Fabien Roussel (Parti communiste de France, far-left, communist)

  • Wants to introduce free public transport

  • Wants to freeze the price of fuel at 1.70 per litre

  • Calls for a 10,000 bonus for the purchase of  Crit'Air 1 and 2 vehicles

  • Same as Anne Hidalgo, wants to introduce a floating tax on fuel

  • Also pledges to comply with IPCC recommendations of investing 6% of GDP (€140billion) into eco-friendly solutions (compared to 2%, or €47billion today)

  • Wants to install particle filtering system on vehicle brakes

  • In favour of low-emission zones

  • Free driving licences for under-25s

  • Wants to invest €100million in the improvement and extension of bike lanes

Marine Le Pen (Rassemblement national, far-right)

  • Says “eco transition must be built on trust and not against citizens’ wellbeing”

  • Wants to get rid of low-emission zones

  • Wants add hybrid vehicles to the “clean vehicles” list

  • Against punitive financial measures on eco-friendliness, such as SUV tax

  • Wants to reduce VAT on fuel to 5.5%

  • Calls for a new national raw material agency to manage fuel 

  • Aims to strengthen France’s image on automobiles and vehicles

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (Debout la France, right-wing)

  • Wants to abolish VAT to enable people to save €7-10 per tank of petrol. 

  • This to be paid for by a tax on very large fortunes (assets of more than €10million).

  • Wants to abolish low-emission zones

  • Wants to replace taxes on polluting vehicles with bonuses for green vehicles

  • Wants to renationalise the motorways and make them free around the Ile-de-France region to limit heavy goods traffic.

  • Will return departmental road speed limits back to 90 km/h instead of 80

  • Will abolish the point-based driving licence system.

Nathalie Arthaud (Lutte Ouvriere, far-left, communist)

  • Concerned about the “purchasing power of French people, especially in this period of soaring fuel prices”

  • Wants to abolish fuel tax for workers who use vehicles to get to work

  • Will compensate for this lack of tax by reducing oil group profits

  • Says she “has confidence” in individual drivers’ responsibility, and believes “unbearable rules” and speed limits are not necessary

Is in favour of “better road infrastructure”

Philippe Poutou (Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste, far left, anti-capitalist)

The candidate has made no comments or pledges in this area.

Related articles

'When I am president': The key policies of final 12 French candidates 
Which French election candidate does your mayor support? How to check

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