By on December 5, 2012

The 100 grams/km CO2 output figure is an important one for motorists in the UK. Cars that can hit this magic number are exempt from London’s daily $16 Congestion Charge, which is levied upon motorists attempting to enter London’s downtown core. But new rules may leave drivers liable for the daily fee, as lawmakers seek to change the exemption threshold to 75 grams/km.

AutoExpress reports that as many as 19,000 motorists could be screwed over by the change in regulations, though they’d be exempt from having to pay the fee until 2015. The new rules would leave just 9 cars – 6 of which are pure EVs – exempt from the charge. The remaining three use some sort of hybrid system to achieve such a low CO2 output.

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23 Comments on “London Looking To Alter Congestion Charge Exemptions By Lowering CO2 Threshold...”


  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    This legislation, like a lot of well meaning european policies, effectively punishes poor people for being poor. The rich will just pay the $16 and go along their business. In fact, the rich financiers working in London probably love this policy because it means fewer riff raff jamming up the traffic and taking up the parking spaces.

    What is really needed, is a progressive congestion fee. Mark the fee to your income. That way everyone will be incentivized to save gas.

    • 0 avatar

      Wouldn’t the “poor people” of London just take the Tube instead?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “This legislation, like a lot of well meaning european policies, effectively punishes poor people for being poor”

      London is not Little Rock or Louisville. It’s an old city with a street plan that was designed primarily for a much lower population that was using horses and their feet to get around.

      There simply isn’t enough room there for everyone to drive or park. And unlike most American cities, there is also adequate public transportation.

      The alternative to a congestion charge is to pass laws that restrict who can or can’t drive into the center. Tolling is an easier and less draconian way to accomplish the same objective.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “This legislation, like a lot of well meaning european policies, effectively punishes poor people for being poor.”

      You really need to see London to understand: if you have a car and work in the parts of the city where the congestion charges apply, you’re not poor. Parking a car—heck, having a car—is a luxury.

      London (and much of Europe) doesn’t punish the poor because it has a reasonable public transportation system and urban development that doesn’t often require a car. You may as well say—and it’d be more accurate—the North American system of suburbs punishes the poor by requiring them to buy a car to get anywhere.

      Before this thread goes off the rails it’s worth noting that multimillion-citizen cities are not and cannot be managed like suburbs, exurbs or small towns. Things like congestion management are a huge deal because managing it like you’d manage Podunk would cost you billions in lost productivity.

    • 0 avatar
      Lampredi

      “What is really needed, is a progressive congestion fee”

      No, the congestion fee should be abolished, and the *underlying* problem should be solved. And the problem is the lack of capacity on the roads.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    There are several cars that have just been released, or are in the pipeline, that are specifically aiming to hit the sub-100g/km target, which would make them eligible for London Congestion Tax exemption.

    It hasn’t been long since BMW launched their 116d EfficientDynamic model that gets sub-100g/km, Hyundai the i20 Blue, and this year’s A-Class. Also, the 2.5L Toyota hybrids, which would likely be in the next IS (as shown in the LF-CC concept). Not to mention the VW Up!

    Obviously, this would throw a wrench in those product plans, as companies have specifically designed their cars to meet those regulations. It would helpful if TfL (Transport for London) laid out more clearly defined roadmaps.

    Either way, diesels will suffer. 75g/km is far off for even the small diesel engines at the moment. The closest non-EV/PHEV I can think of is the Prius C which gets 77 g/km. I’m sure next years Yaris Hybrid will be tuned to get those two extra grams/km off to hit the new London Congestion Tax targets.

  • avatar
    mcarr

    I’m sure the reasoning behind this is that “it’s good for the environment”. It surely can’t be that the gov’t wants/needs more $$ and is looking for ways to get it.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Demand for the option to drive into these areas is elastic, i.e. as the price goes up, demand falls since, as noted above, reasonable alternatives exist. The total revenue collected is not guaranteed to increase. However, the projected expense of accommodating cars in those areas will most certainly go down if the number of cars drops.

  • avatar
    redav

    That’s one reason I chose to not work in a downtown area.

    I firmly believe that if you align the locations of housing & jobs, you can make congestion (and its associated pollution) almost disappear.

  • avatar
    Vance Torino

    “I firmly believe that if you align the locations of housing & jobs, you can make congestion (and its associated pollution) almost disappear.”

    Exactly. That’s the point. Mixed-use development, urban in-fill, mass transit are the future. Shall I visit the new eatery before riding 15 minutes home. Or sit angry and fuming (and fuming) in my BMW X6 for an hour back to the McMansion?

    Ask someone young sometime.

    London is a sustainable, wonderful city. Houston or California’s Inland Empire can only be described as…

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Eh, just ban cars and get it over with. It’s not like they have any real rights left over there anyway.

  • avatar
    Sydcam

    The sub-100g band also gets you free Road Tax in the UK for personal drivers, and company car users get (heavily) taxed based on their cars emissions, so theres a lot of people that would like a car that pollutes less than 3 figures besides Londoners.

    The Congestion Charge aims to let a finite amount of vehicles into the relatively small, crowded center of London, so I doubt that specific market is big enough to justify all these models.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    I’d be curious to see a list of the vehicles affected.

    • 0 avatar
      W.Minter

      Affected is every car between 76 and 99 g CO2:
      – Yaris Hybrid (79 g)
      – Prius / Prius+
      – VW eco up (79 g) (CNG)
      – every Ford Fiesta 1.0 ecoboost 3 cyl turbo petrol; up to 125 hp (99 g)
      – Audi A1 (99 g)

      London’s intention is simply a ban for ICE-only and most Hybrid cars.
      Toyota might bring the Yaris down to 74 g (tires, ecu).

      Here’s a nice overview (in German):
      http://www.utopia.de/bestenliste/die-klimafreundlichsten-autos-2012-vcd-umweltliste

      There are some cars below the 75 g barrier:

      – Prius Plug-in (49 g)
      – Chevrolet Volt (27 g)
      – Vauxhall Ampera (27 g)
      – Fisker Karma (51 g)
      – Volvo V60 Wagen Diesel Plug-in AWD (49 g) (on sale right now, 0-100 kph = 6.1 sec) (AWD Diesel Wagon with a plug, FTW)

      Coming “soon”:
      – Ford C-Max & Mondeo Energi
      – BMW i3 & i8 (33 g) w/ Range Extender
      – VW Golf Plug-in (announced for 2014; don’t believe it)
      – Porsche 918 Spyder Plug-in(2014)(70 g) (795 hp …!), every Londoner should have one
      – Fisker Atlantic
      – Porsche Panamera, Audi Q7, Audi A1 e-tron, Honda Accord, Mitsubishi Outlander …

      I think the 75 g barrier will be screwed up by rich boys with big SUVs and Diesels with empty batteries.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Don’t forget the Fiat 500 TwinAir. Not sold stateside, but gets 95 g/km, I believe. My co-worker has one to avoid the congestion charge, although still takes the train to work some days.

        Funny that a “Chelsea Tractor” hybrid could game the system to be exempt from congestion charges.

  • avatar
    Lynn E.

    For those of you who think cities should be tore up for wider roads and parking garages here is something to think about: Do you like fat women?
    Phoenix, AZ is built for cars with wide roads, many expressways, huge parking garages, poor public transportation, and enormous parking lots around our Walmarts. A car is almost a necessity to live here. The result, our women are fat.
    Visiting cities like NYC, Paris, and even San Francisco Where stores and offices are close together and people walk are great for seeing beautiful women.

  • avatar
    grahamp

    Make the tax 5 pounds per day for the 75-99g range, 10 pounds per day for the 100-200g range, and 20 pounds per day above that as well as the Chelsea Tractors.


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