Key officials have supported the idea of aligning the taxation of kerosene for private planes and gasoline for cars
Raising taxes on private jets would be a display of “common sense,” Christophe Bechu, France’s minister for ecological transition, said on Saturday. His remarks came the day after MPs from the majority Renaissance party tabled an amendment to the budget that proposes aligning the taxation of fuel for private planes with gasoline used by cars.
In an interview with FranceInfo, Bechu said that the majority party’s move is “a good thing” as “taxing more what pollutes more is a principle of common sense.”
“I am delighted with this amendment that the government supports,” the minister said.
Kerosene, which is used by private planes, has been subject to a “tax niche,” which, as Transport Minister Clement Beaune explained on Friday, led to a paradoxical situation whereby “private jets are now less taxed than cars, as well as than passenger planes from small flying clubs.” Therefore, raising taxes on the fuel for private jets would serve as a “rebalancing act” and would be a “good thing,” Beaune concluded.
The French government had previously pledged to conduct consultations with its EU partners on ways to regulate private jet emissions.
This issue has been the subject of fierce debates in France in the wake of an extremely dry summer, wildfires and a looming energy crisis, which has been exacerbated by anti-Russia sanctions and a sharp decrease in Russian energy supplies. Over the summer, several Twitter users in France started tracking billionaires’ private planes, fueling public outcry even more.
Julien Bayou, then leader of the French Green Party, called for a total ban on private jets, arguing that such a measure “would penalize the smallest number of people for the biggest and most immediate impact in favor of the climate.”
The government, however, made it clear at the time that banning such aircraft was not being considered, given their important role in the economy.
According to a study conducted by the European campaign group Transport & Environment in 2021, private jets are five to 14 times more polluting than commercial planes per passenger, and 50 times more polluting than trains. As a result, the group states, just 1% of people cause 50% of global aviation emissions.
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