The government of France uses a "bonus-malus" system to encourage its citizens to go green with their next car purchase. The more fuel efficient a vehicle you buy, the bigger incentive you get. The more gas guzzling a vehicle you buy, the bigger penalty you pay. Unfortunately for France, too many people are buying fuel efficient vehicles and taking advantage of the government incentives, which means income from the gas guzzling penalty hasn't been high enough to make the program budget neutral.

To correct this, France has announced that it will be lowering the amount of green incentives offered and increasing the gas guzzler penalty to bring the program back in balance. The change was announced at France's Equip Auto Show where Eric Besson, France's minister of industry, told showgoers:
The adjustments we have decided on will ensure a balanced budget. We will continue to support the greening of the fleet in France and the spread of electric and hybrid vehicle
Here's a rundown of the new rules for France's "bonus-malus" system. Buyers of vehicles emitting less than 50 grams per kilometer of CO2 will get a €5,000 ($6,940 U.S. at today's exchange rate) bonus. Vehicles emitting 50 to 60 g/km of CO2 qualify for €3,500 ($4,860 U.S.). Vehicles in the 60 to 90 g/km of CO2 range get €400 ($555 U.S.) and those emitting 90 to 105 g/km of CO2 get €100 ($139 U.S.).

On the malus side of things, the new penalty is €200 ($278 U.S.) for vehicles emitting from 141 to 150 g/km of CO2. The penalty rises from there until it maxes out at €3,500 ($4,860 U.S.) for vehicles that emit more than 231 g/km of CO2. But for any gas-gulping vehicles exceeding 190 g/km of CO2), the penalty must be paid annually, not only at the time of purchase.

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