Italy wants to throw its weight behind the growing anti-SUV movement by expelling 4X4s from city streets. Italian authorities have proposed taxes and scrapping incentives on such vehicles.

Italy wants to throw its weight behind the growing anti-SUV movement by expelling 4X4s from city streets. Italian authorities have proposed taxes and scrapping incentives on such vehicles.

The Italian government has plans to introduce a new tax on big vehicles, like SUVs, and older cars accused of being among the country's main pollutants. Italy's environment minister Altero Matteoli said these taxes would be used to fund incentives for people to scrap their older cars and buy more environmentally friendly ones instead.

"It isn't fair to put a higher road tax on older cars that often belong to poorer people. (We could) provide incentives for people wanting to change those cars and possibly use the money we get from taxing polluting cars," Matteoli said.

He said his ministry was devising a way of calculating road taxes depending on the size of the vehicle's engine, its year of registration and the fuel used. These factors all influence a car's pollution levels, he maintained.

The mayoral administrations of both London and Paris have considered banning SUVs from city centres as they take up too much road space and are involved in disproportionate numbers of incidents with pedestrians and cyclists.

After France proposed raising its SUV taxes, it came under fire from Germany who claimed the move would protect French manufacturers of smaller cars. Italy should expect a similar objection to its proposed plans

Last month on CARtoday.com, Oxford professor Andrew Goudie even attributed the proliferation of desert dust storms, the destruction of coral reefs and worldwide climate changes on the increased use of 4X4s in certain regions.