• Hybrid Cars Lose London Congestion Charge Exemption

    Published on:  May 2nd 2013

    For many years, hybrid and other 'green' vehicles have benefited from 100 per cent Green Vehicle Discount from the London congestion charge. Popular cars such as the Toyota Prius and the Fiat 500 TwinAir have all been exempt thanks to their low emissions of 100g/km or less of CO2. But unfortunately for green drivers, this exemption will not last much longer.

    As of June 28th 2013, the congestion charge emissions discount will only apply to cars that emit 75g/km of CO2 or less. This new Ultra Emission Discount now only favours electric or plug-in hybrids, such as the Nissan Leaf or the Renault Zoe.

    The changes have been introduced in line with the Mayor's aim to improve London's air quality by reducing emissions. The new ultra low emissions criteria have been designed to eliminate diesel cars from London while encouraging the development of low-emission cars.

    However, there is some good news for hybrid drivers. Transport for London has confirmed that any car currently registered for the Green Vehicle Discount will be able to retain the exemption for the next three years. This 'sunset' period follows complaints from motorists who have purchased hybrid cars specifically for the purpose of avoiding the congestion charge. These drivers will be able to enjoy their discount until 28th June 2016.

    The congestion charge was originally introduced in London in 2003, just over ten years ago, as a method of reducing congestion and traffic levels in the centre of London. Despite recent increases in congestion, Transport for London insists that the situation would be far worse without the help of the increasing number of drivers paying the congestion charge.

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