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How much motorists in France will pay in fees in 2023

Car registration varies depending on where you live, the type of vehicle you have and how polluting it is - here's how much you can expect to pay in 2023.

How much motorists in France will pay in fees in 2023
Cars on Paris's Champs-Elysee. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP)

Anyone who has bought a car in France will know that they have one month from the date of purchase to register the vehicle in their name via the ANTS website.

READ ALSO What you should know when buying a car in France

When you register for your vehicle’s carte grise, you will be asked for a fee. How much that costs depends on the type of car you have bought, how green it is, and where you live.

The total cost is made up of the following:

  • Regional tax;
  • Tax for the development of vocational training in transport;
  • Tax on polluting vehicles;
  • Fixed tax of €11;
  • Fee for the delivery of the registration certificate.

Each of France’s 13 regions sets their own regional tax rate every year – which this year range from €55 in Brittany (€4 higher than in 2022) to as little as €27 in Corsica. Six regions offer 100 percent regional tax discounts for ‘clean’ electric vehicles, while another two cut their fees by 50 percent. 

You can find a table of rates here

To calculate how much you have you pay, you need to know the cheval fiscal of your vehicle. No, that’s not a horse who is also a tax expert, it is “taxable horsepower” of your vehicle. You can find this on your registration certificate, where it is known as cheval vapeur or CV. 

This unit of measurement classifies cars according to their power for tax purposes. Each category of car in circulation is assigned a specific rate.

To calculate your pollution tax, multiply the rate of 1 fiscal horsepower of the region where you live by the fiscal power of the vehicle.

Alternatively, use this simulator

Your vehicle’s CV is also important for calculating the pollution tax. More powerful ICE cars are very recognised as the most polluting – and this tax is intended to motivate buyers to consider 100 percent electric, hybrid, or smaller vehicles.

The good news is that, if you are buying a car from a dealership, they should deal with all this on your behalf as part of the sale process. In theory, you can also ask any dealership to help you out – they may charge an additional fee on top.

You can estimate the total cost of your carte grise using the government’s online simulator here.

Other costs

Running a car in France involves several other costs beyond the obvious insurance and fuel costs.

Once your car is more than four years old, it needs regular vehicle safety checks known as contôle technique (roughly equivalent to an MOT in the UK)

READ ALSO How to save money on your contrôle technique

As well as toll fees if you want to drive on autoroutes, you will also need a Crit’Air sticker if you want to drive in the larger towns and cities. This sticker – which assigns a number to your vehicle based on how polluting it is – only costs around €5, but not having one can net you a larger fine.

How the Crit’Air vehicle sticker system works

And of course you will need to obey the rules of the road in order to avoid fines, points on your driving licence or both.

These are the offences that can cost you points on your driving licence in France

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French cities to start enforcing lanes reserved for carpooling

Six cities across France - Lyon, Lille, Grenoble, Strasbourg, Nantes and Rennes - have begun experimenting with enforcing the proper usage of carpool lanes.

French cities to start enforcing lanes reserved for carpooling

The test phase for enforcement began in September in Strasbourg, Nantes and Rennes – the latest cities to add carpooling signs to their motorways.

READ MORE: The new French road sign that can net you a €135 fine if you ignore it

Lasting two years, the test phase will allow local authorities to experiment with new methods of enforcing respect of the lanes.

The lanes marked with the carpool sign are intended to only be used by: Vehicles with at least two occupants (including motorbikes with a pillion passenger);  Vehicles with a Crit’Air zero emission sticker (ie electric cars); Taxis (even if there are no occupants on board); and buses and other public transport vehicles.

READ MORE: Crit’Air: How France’s vehicle emissions stickers work

In some cases, the lane (or lanes) will only be reserved for certain times of day, and generally it will be the left-hand lane on motorways in order to limit disturbances that could be caused with exit lanes and passing.

As such, there will be two variations of the sign. The first version is only meant for certain hours of the day, which is indicated either by the sign lighting up over the lane when active, or standing at the side of the road with a time slot indicated on it.

How the enforcement will work

The French government proposed that local authorities define their own enforcement policies during the two-year trial period, which can include issuing fines. Currently, the fixed fine is €135 for failing to respect the rules of a carpool lane.

Local authorities are permitted to use radar and cameras to record offences, and when this is done, one or more signs should be installed in the area to inform drivers that they have entered an enforcement area and could be liable to a fine.

The French government wrote in Service-Public that the goal with the two-year trial phase will be to determine the most effective system for ensuring that the reserved carpooling lanes are properly used.

According to Reporterre, at least 12 radar devices have been deployed to the six cities that have instituted the carpooling lanes.

While enforcement will vary by city to city, the trial phase is also intended to teach motorists to respect the signs. 

The head of management for inter-departmental roads in western France, Fabric Chagnot, told Reporterre that they “won’t start issuing fines from the outset.” 

“There will be a period of adjustment. For the time being, we’re mainly going to be educating people to make sure they understand the new signs”.