Majority rule, minority rights.

Paris established its Low Emissions Zone (EPZ) in 2016. By July 4, 2019, the city limited access to vehicles complying with Euro 2 emissions standards (2005 model year). Parisian officials implemented the latest restrictions on June 1, 2021, restricting Crit’Air 4, 5, and unclassified vehicles from operating in the EPZ from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays. However, the French Federation of Vintage Vehicles (FFVE) isn’t taking the new regulations lying down.

Following a decree published on September 17, 2020, Paris will add seven new low emission zones to the city’s four existing EPZs. France’s Crit’Air 4 and 5 complies with Euro 3 and 2 standards, respectively. Under the new regulations, vehicles made prior to January 1, 2006 can't access low emission zones during workweek business hours. On the other hand, Crit’Air Green, 1, 2, and 3 sticker holders can access any EPZ throughout the city.

Of course, exceptions are made for Crit’Air 4 and 5 vehicles used for commercial and tourism purposes, but the FFVE also secured access for vintage vehicles. Championing a bill to create a “Collection” classification in the Crit’Air system, FFVE gained the support of 150 parliamentarians. The proposal passed in March, 2021, and vehicles with a vintage registration certificate can bypass the latest restrictions.

While the legislation is good news for car and motorcycle collectors, those under the Collection category can’t use the vehicle for the home/work commute. FFVE pushed its bill under the assumption that the Collection classification accounts for “0.5% of the stock of the top eleven metropolitan areas concerned and rolls 15 times less.” Luckily, the vast majority of vintage vehicles aren’t used as daily drivers, so hopefully, conflicts don’t arise.

Parisian officials will enforce the new regulations for the next 3 years. With 12 French territories considering new low emissions zones and the lack of a national exemption, Collector tag holders might only enjoy access in Paris until 2024. After that period, FFVE will need to secure new exceptions for vintage vehicles. Let’s hope they gain the same amount of parliamentary support when the time comes.

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