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French Government Declares Car Feebates System a Success

Basic parameters of France’s feebate system. Click to enlarge.

French environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo declared a bonus/malus (“feebate”) system introduced to encourage car buyers to make greener purchase choices a success.

According to official figures, sales in France of vehicles consuming less than 130 g/km CO2 increased 45% increase in the eight months since the scheme was introduced. In that time, average CO2 emissions from new cars sold fell by 9% (8 g CO2/km). There was, however, a surge in purchases of 4x4s between the scheme’s announcement and its introduction.

The highest bonus for the buying the lowest carbon car (below 60 g/km—essentially only EVs qualify) is €5,000 (US$7,349), while the highest malus (extra tax) is €2,600 (US$3,821). Buyers of low emissions vehicles who also scrap a vehicle older than 15 years receive a super bonus of €300.

In 2007, nearly 50% of the vehicles sold in France emitted less than 140 g CO2/km, according to ADEME (Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie). Vehicle CO2 ratings are available on the ADEME site.

The cost to France’s budget is reported to be around €140 million (US$206 million) because of the greater-than-expected impact of the scheme.

Encouraged by the early indications from the scheme, Borloo has called for the system to be applied to other types of products, including televisions, computers, tires and some electrical products.

(A hat-tip to Chris!)



They forgot to inlcude carbon-negative cars (NEGEV - "negative emissions vehicles").



And what cars would those be?

Maybe this one?


I recall a gas guzzler tax in the late 80s that added a surcharge to cars that did not get good mileage. This did not include trucks and SUVs, which could explain some of the increased sales of those in the 90s.

If I had to pay 10% more for any vehicle that averaged less than 20 mpg and that money went to people that purchased vehicles that got more than 30 mpg, I would be inclined to purchase a more fuel efficient vehicle.


Rules I would like to see:
1. No rebates on behavior
2. No taxes on behavior
3. Do something if there is a problem that free entrprise cannot solve and
4. Do not allow an energy problem to become a crises that can crush our country.

In the event of rule conflict, order of precidence should be highest (4) to lowest (1) i.e. 4. 3. 2. and 1.

Umm, I am intersted in a "vehicles consuming ... CO2".


Oh - and $206 million???
That's nothing.
Even if they mean, say, $1 billion ($206 million MORE than expected) it's nothing.


In the wide spectrum of government ideas this one seems better than most because it is simple and based upon one measurement. Subsidize vehicles that use less fuel and tax those that use more.

And that affected sales. Amazing! The government program should be enlarged. Amazing!

The program has run for eight months while fuel prices increased and buyers were steadily offered better choices among fuel saving models. The subsidy had some effect but it has not been the only factor at work.

The first sentence hints at another development. They have vehicles that run on CO2. Bad news for plants. Said vehicles sell well.

"According to official figures, sales in France of vehicles CONSUMING less than 130 g/km CO2 increased 45% increase in the eight months since the scheme was introduced."

Are these the NEGEVs?


NEGEVs are cars that actively take CO2 out of the atmosphere. Basically any vehicle (EV, fuel cell) that uses electricity or hydrogen made from biomass, the CO2 of which is geosequestered or sequestered as solid carbon in soils.

So it's not the vehicle itself, but the way it is embedded in the energy system. When it draws electricity or H2 from a carbon-negative source, it is a NEGEV.

(There are some concepts that allow biogenic CO2 to be captured on-board, but these are experimental).

Obviously, France, with its nukes, won't easily recognize carbon-negative energy. Its interests in nuclear are too big.


It should be easy to fine tune this whorthwhile program to make it revenue neutral.


Although the result is obviously very good, it would still be much simpler and better to simply introduce a carbon tax on any fuel.
At the moment, someone buying a normal car, but hardly drives it, will pay a fine. Someone who buys a low-emission car but drives crazy miles wil get a rebate, although at the end, he will emit much more CO2.


It should be easy to fine tune this whorthwhile program to make it revenue neutral.

It was supposed to be : as they say, "The cost to France’s budget is reported to be around €140 million (US$206 million) because of the greater-than-expected impact of the scheme." They didn't expect such a dramatic change in the sales, with a lot of people wanting to buy smaller cars.

Alain, I entirely agree with you.



An ideal program may use up to three approaches:

1) a revenue neutral purchase bonus/malus system for immediate effect on sales (the French program).

2) a much higher fuel tax for longer term fuel consumption and GHG reduction + road construction and repairs (in place in many countries).

3) variable annual registration fees based on weight, fuel consumption and CO2 to send a clear message to oversized heavy vehicle owners (in place in a few countries).

An oversized heavy gas guzzler could cost an extra $10K to purchase and an extra $10K/year to use.

A mostly electric vehicle could cost up the $10K less (bonus) to buy and up $10K/year less (gas taxes and negative or zero registration fees) to use.


No more tax.

Angel Molina

I do not agree with your comment Jonas. Finally this is taxation for emmiting CO2 in the atmosphere. This can be identified as a negative externality, therefore the government and consequently the society should balance it by obtaining revenues. Finally these revenues should be invested in reforestation or CCS technologies.


I still think one single CO2 tax is the most fair and straightforward method to accomplish everything we want.
First of all, the CO2 tax should be high enough to pay for any sequestration needed to offset the pollution. Secondly it should (additionaly) pay for the 'energy insecurity cost' it causes. (This cost may change as new technologies are implemented). Thirdly, if you consider it unfair that poor people are taxed as much as rich people, you can have an (additional) tax that is used to give a bonus to every person in the country. That could compensate for the higher cost of fuel for the first gallons burnt by 'poor people'.
If that kind of 'social correction tax' is added to the fuel tax, there is no need to invent a separate 'gazz guzzler tax', since it is 'socialy accepted' to burn too much fuel, because gaz-guzzler drivers will sponsor the fuel of the 'poor people'.

Jim Bullis - Miastrada Company

So nobody has figured out that the nuclear power France produces could be better used for the CO2 environment by selling power to Germany or Spain or other EU countries. Then they could encourage cleaned up diesels or good hybrids and skip the EV game to make real progress.

The net effect of the EV is to cause coal usage that would otherwise not be necessary.

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