LLovers of fine mechanics can breathe. Paris, Reims, Rouen, Nice have already guaranteed that classic cars will be able to continue to drive in their low emission zones (ZFE) which will gradually exclude the most polluting cars and motorcycles. Orders are also to be published in Strasbourg, Toulouse, Lyon and for Greater Paris, and in consultation in Saint-Etienne and Grenoble, indicated the French Federation of Vintage Vehicles (FFVE) during a press conference.
The presidents of the agglomerations concerned were “encouraged” at the end of January by the Minister of Transport to set up local derogations. “Collectors bring to life the industrial, technical, economic and social heritage that these vehicles represent”, underlined Jean-Baptiste Djebbari in the letter addressed to the presidents of metropolises. “Their contribution to air pollution appears to be very limited in built-up areas due to their small number and the insignificant mileage they cover”. They go out on average 14 times and travel 950 km per year, according to a survey by the FFVE.
1% of the French vehicle fleet
Concretely, vehicles over 30 years old, registered by the FFVE to obtain the gray collection card and therefore not used for daily transport, will thus be able to continue to circulate all week in these areas which will gradually ban Crit’Air vignettes. 5, 4 then 3 (diesel before 2011 and petrol before 2006). Thus, access to the 43 major metropolitan areas will be reserved for Crit’Air 1, 2, green vignettes, and the 400,000 vehicles registered in the collection, ie 1% of the French car fleet.
Soon a new thumbnail?
These local derogations must replace a passage by law. A centrist bill aimed at creating a “historic” sticker was passed in early 2021 in the Senate, but the majority blocked it in the National Assembly, stressing that it was a “regulatory” measure. That said, a project for a new sticker to identify collector’s vehicles would be under study. It remains to be seen whether this advantage granted to vintage cars could create a windfall effect for motorists who would like to continue driving in ZFEs with vehicles from the 1980s or 1990s. According to the FFVE, the criteria are quite restrictive to rule out this risk, even an “increase in demand” for collector’s registration cards is expected.