The suggested tax was proposed by the Convention Citoyenne sur le Climat (the Citizens’ Climate Convention) in June, 2020 as an ecological measure, and is among the proposals being considered by the government.
One month earlier, in May 2020, the French government announced plans to support the automobile sector following the Covid-19 health crisis. These included an aid package of €8 billion for the French car industry and widespread financial aid to help individuals in France buy electric and hybrid cars.
Now, Luc Chatel, president of automobile association la Plateforme de la Filière Automobile (PFA) has said the two policies contradict one another, and has called for "stability in decisions" made by the government.
Eco-cars and vehicles made in France to be affected
Mr Chatel was speaking on Good Morning Business on the BFM Business channel this morning (September 18).
He said: "We cannot, three months after [the government announced its support plan], put in place a tax that will go against what we’ve been told."
He went on to criticise the "absurdity" of an eco-tax that will have a significant impact on electric and hybrid cars, which often have heavy batteries.
Mr Chatel also highlighted what he saw as the government’s contradictory policies, saying: “The cars will benefit from a bonus for reduced CO2 emissions and a penalty [for their weight] at the same time. It’s ridiculous.”
Taxe sur le poids des véhicules: "On ne peut pas mettre en place une taxe qui va à l'encontre de ce qui s'est dit il y a 3 mois" selon le président de la plateforme automobile— BFM Business (@bfmbusiness) September 18, 2020
@chrisjaku, Sandra Gandoin, @LucChatel pic.twitter.com/62E26LumtF
Mr Chatel added that the suggested penalty would also tax 70% of vehicles made in France, when the government had previously said it was committed to supporting domestic production of vehicles.
Measure not yet approved by government
The plan to tax vehicles according to their weight has not yet been approved by the government although President Macron has said he will consider nearly all the eco-friendly proposals put forward by the Citizens’ Climate Convention.
Meanwhile, minister for the economy and finance, Bruno le Maire, has also promised that new, higher taxes will not be imposed on businesses or individuals in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
As well as taxing vehicles according to their weight, the 150 measures proposed by the citizens’ Climate Convention include changing the French constitution to highlight the importance of environmental protection, and introducing a new environmental crime called “ecocide”.