Cars are getting 1 cm wider every two years – research
(Transport and Environment, 22 Jan 2024) Over half of new vehicles are too wide for many on-street parking spaces. Paris will vote on tripling parking fees for SUVs on 4 February.
New cars in Europe are getting 1 cm wider every two years, on average. That’s according to research by Transport & Environment (T&E) which says the trend will continue due to the rising sales of SUVs – unless lawmakers take action. Around half of new cars sold are already too wide for the minimum on-street parking space in many countries. Paris could be the first major European capital to tackle this trend if citizens endorse higher parking charges for SUVs in a referendum next month.
The average width of new cars expanded to 180.3 cm in the first half of 2023, up from 177.8 cm in 2018, the T&E research finds. Data compiled by the ICCT confirms the same trend in the two decades up to 2020. New cars in the EU are subject to the same maximum width, 255 cm, as buses and trucks. T&E said that unless the EU width limit for cars is reviewed and cities impose higher parking charges, large SUVs and pick-ups will continue to expand to the cap meant for trucks.
James Nix, Vehicles Policy Manager at T&E, said: “Cars have been getting wider for decades and that trend will continue until we set a stricter limit. Currently the law allows new cars to be as wide as trucks. The result has been big SUVs and American style pick-up trucks parking on our footpaths and endangering pedestrians, cyclists and everyone else on the road.”