New French Law Requires All Car Ads To Promote Biking And Public Transport Too

Humanity is slowly but surely inching its way towards a carbon-neutral future, but progress has been slow.

Besides replacing fuel-driven cars with electric, one way to curb emissions is to encourage people to use environmentally-friendly methods of transportation — like biking or even walking.

That's at the heart of a new French law.

French automakers must include this in their advertising moving forward.

Unsplash | Earth

Starting on March 1st, car companies will have to promote walking, biking, carpooling, or public transit in their advertising, according to CTV News.

In short, they can advertise their cars — but they must also advertise greener options.

It comes after years of lobbying.

Flickr | Nivek.Old.Gold

Advertisers must use one of three statements in their ads in order to comply with the new legislation. Translated from French, these statements are:

-For short journeys, walk or cycle.

-Think about carpooling.

-Take public transport daily.

Messages must be included in all advertising.

Unsplash | Mikhail Pavstyuk

Whether the ad appears in print, online, TV, or radio, the rules are the same: the message must be either clearly visible or spoken aloud, depending on the medium. A hashtag, #SeDéplacerMoinsPolluer (#movewithoutpollution), will accompany the campaign.

France wants to cut back on emissions.

Unsplash | Maksym Tymchyk

This doesn't make them much different from many other countries, but France is trying to meet some ambitious goals: ending the sale of gas and diesel-powered cars by 2040. The city of Paris has even banned older cars because they pollute more.

Gas guzzlers are not wanted in France.

Unsplash | Claudio Schwarz

In addition to the goals noted above, France has passed a weight tax on cars, aimed at discouraging the use of gas-guzzling SUVs. They also require automakers to disclose the climate impact of their cars in advertising.

It's about more than electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles cut back on emissions, but they also require resources of their own. Minister for the Ecological Transition of France Barbara Pompili said as much in this tweet, noting that cutting back emissions means more than just switching to electric vehicles.

The move has precedents, sort of.

Unsplash | Museums Victoria

While it isn't a warning label per se, it almost mirrors the inclusion of warning labels on things like cigarettes, alcohol and sugary snacks.

It's a way to raise awareness about something that can be harmful.

Will other countries follow suit?

Unsplash | Anthony Choren

France is hardly the only country with ambitious goals to curb emissions, but it seems to be one of the only ones taking such an aggressive approach. It'll be interesting to see if other countries, particularly France's neighbors in the European Union, follow suit.

What do you think?


2040 might seem like a long way off, but it really isn't. Is it realistic to think that electric vehicles will be the only mode of transport by then? What do you think of France's messaging? Make sure to let us know in the comments.

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